On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 7, 2022:

Two years after we moved to Emory in 2011 I wrote a column called “I’m a city girl, and I hate bugs!” In it I recounted three recent incidents that involved discovering a rather large bug in the glass from which I had just taken a swallow to wash down a couple of pills, the spontaneous dance I performed in the kitchen when a cricket made its way up the leg of my jeans, and the fate of a rather large spider that took up residence in our bath tub. There have been many encounters with bugs in the last nine years – most of which ended badly for the bug – and although I deal with most of them without hysterics, I still hate bugs. One of those encounters happened Sunday morning at church.

Every week before the service begins, or in this case, before Sunday School started, I make a pit stop so I can be sure to make it through class or the sermon without having to visit the ladies’ room. It’s a habit left over from my childhood when you didn’t leave the classroom or the sanctuary unless you were in need of an ambulance or you were about to throw up on your mother. These visits are not usually a traumatic experience, but this time when I went into the stall, I wasn’t alone. There, lurking in the corner by the door, was a HUGE spider. Well, maybe not huge, but at least two inches across if you count the legs.

While I was doing what I came to do, I was thinking about having to pass that spider on my way out. He didn’t move, so maybe he was dead. Maybe I could scoot by him, leaving him for the next occupant to deal with. But then that little voice that God put in your head to let you know when you’re about to mess up whispered in my ear. “What if the next person to come in is a visitor?” I immediately thought about Edwina Patterson.

In 2013 we had a one-day women’s conference at Believers’ Baptist, and Edwina was the speaker. Several months before the event, she gave us a booklet she had developed about how to have a successful conference. There was a list of committees, a timetable for when various preparations needed to begin, and other details based on her years of conference experience. Some of the committees were what you might expect – publicity, food, hospitality, prayer – but the one I didn’t expect was the restroom committee.

At one of our meetings, she explained that the condition of the restroom is very important to women and can greatly affect their overall impression of the church, and the committee took her seriously. Before the participants began to arrive, each restroom was thoroughly cleaned and stocked with bathroom and facial tissues, soap, paper towels, air freshener, hand lotion, and mints. Because of the number of women who registered, we took over the men’s restrooms as well, and the committee put flower arrangements in the urinals to lessen the feeling of being in unknown territory. Edwina suggested hostesses in each restroom, but since space didn’t allow the extra body, members checked the condition of the restrooms after each break. Supplies were replenished; stray paper towels or tissues were picked up; and sinks, cabinets, and mirrors were wiped clean of any spots or splashes. Our attention to detail was noticed, and many comments were made about the special flower arrangements.

All these years later, I still pick up stray tissues and take an extra paper towel after I dry my hands to wipe down my area. Sometimes I get a curious look, and I give a quick explanation of the origin of the habit. Surprisingly, a number of other women do the same thing, even though I’m sure they’ve never met Edwina Patterson. I have maintained a friendship with Edwina after the intense amount of time we spent together, and it was her voice God used when I thought about leaving that spider running free to terrorize the next patron.

A few days before, David had watched a video of Kris Kristofferson singing Why Me, Lord? That phrase ran through my head as I contemplated my plan of action. I require a large amount of padding to deal with eight-legged creatures to avoid any possibility of actually touching them. Bathroom tissue isn’t wide enough or thick enough to do the job, so I left the stall to get some paper towels. Stella came in, and gave me a questioning look.

“There’s a really big spider in there,” I said by way of explanation.

“Step on it,” she said practically.

NOTE: My days of wearing spike heels has long past!

Logical, but I hate the squish of a spider under my shoe almost as much as I hate touching them. I threw the lump of paper towels over him, but he suddenly became very animated. After a couple of failed attempts to capture him, I decided Stella was right. I missed him with my first couple of stomps, but when I finally saw evidence of his demise seeping through the paper towel, I scooped up his remains and disposed of him in the trash can.

I washed my hands thoroughly to remove any of his remains, real or imagined, but it took longer to remove the grimace from my face. It took even longer to stop asking, “Why me, Lord? Why couldn’t you have put him in Stella’s stall?”



Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

Comments on: "Why me, Lord? by Linda Brendle" (2)

  1. Gloria Moore said:

    I’ve had a greater than average number of bugs and spiders getting into the house since Dennis is gone. I’ve dumped two living wolfies outside but I am a little distressed at finding a desecated remains of a brown recluse on my bathroom area.

    • Oh no! I have heard that if you take peppermint oil and dab it around your window screens it will keep bugs out. I have never tried it, so I don’t know if it works.

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