It finally happened. My first tick! Ugh and Yuck! And a deer tick at that! It’s actually amazing that I’ve never experienced a tick before now, especially given my love of the outdoors and our living in New England. I guess all those snuggles with my adorable mixed terrier pup Sofie finally caught up with me. . .
She attends most of my Zoom meetings on my lap and shares my pillow at night so most likely brought the unwanted visitor home after a fun outing outdoors. Rather than feast on Sofie who’s treated with flea and tick medicine, the vile creature (Sorry Yeshua, I know it is still a created being) found its way to the side of my neck right at the juncture of my collarbone area.
Even despite the everpresent possibility of Lyme disease, how is it that such a tiny creature literally makes our skin crawl when one is on our body? My children have had dog ticks before (when we lived in Ohio) and I’ve never been the one who could be involved in the calm handling required, my shrieking similar to my reaction when I’ve seen a mouse.
So you can imagine my reaction when I thought I felt a slight itch on the side of my neck, went to scratch it, and it felt like a wart! Pretty big for a tick that starts out the size of a sesame seed! It must have been feasting for awhile. (Stay with me. I know this is gross. The good part is coming.)
My hero Sid removed it with tweezers and off we went to Urgent Care. After a dose of antibiotics we are hopeful all will be fine.
How could such a loathsome, potentially dangerous external parasite be present so intimately on me and I didn’t even notice? I had showered regularly and even just washed my hair, and wear my hair in two braids at night when sleeping. How could Sid and I have not noticed this blob on my neck which should have been clearly visible each evening?
I wear two necklaces which I never take off. One is my Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) on a short gold chain. The other is actually two Stars of David on a longer black faux leather cord. It is thick enough that the invader was able to lie under it and not be seen. Thank goodness I felt the itch, for it may have never been visible given that necklace never comes off.
What possible good could come from such a horrible happening? Lots of thoughts . . .
No matter the strength of our character, no matter how stable our emotional wiring, we all have weaknesses that can derail us. Just as the tick starts out the size of a sesame seed, so too, our character flaws often seem so tiny, and sometimes they are. Yet these are the vulnerabilities that can literally break through all of our defenses and get worse over time if not addressed.
Just as the tick was unseen until it had caused serious damage, these weaknesses, and attacks, often blindside us. We don’t even know they are there, and yet, they are powerfully able to completely overwhelm our sense of well being. They can literally drain us of our health and vigor, leaving instead their poison to our beings. The smallest unresolved issues we retain can grow into overwhelming trauma if not given the proper attention.
Lying under the cord of my Star of David necklace, the tick actually was able to attack me from the very place I symbolically felt love and security. My wanting to hold close to that reminder of my faith was as a target. So often the more we strive to be closer to our Creator, the evil one lurks in the shadows ready to attack, to pull us away from what is holy and good. These unseen forces, situations, unhealthy influences can literally lie in wait knowing we don’t even know they are there, so we are caught unawares with no defenses to apply.
Just as “it” was found out, and better vigilance could have found it sooner, we are armed each day, literally, with the Armor of God when we bring Him into our lives from the moment we awake. We thank Him for our first breath of life of the new day. We pray for protection. We listen to the Daily Dvar. We do morning prayers, Shachrit, praise Him, ask HaShem to help us with our weaknesses, protect us, heal us, guide us to make the right choices, lead us to forgive, cause us to experience immense gratitude. We chat with our havruta. Listen to worshipful music. Try to take a jog, more time with God. Doing these types of activities, these mental, emotional, and spiritual immersions, brings the palpable presence of Yeshua as our co-pilot in life into reality.
Often we can’t fit all of that in during the morning, but doing so is the goal, for the more we prepare, protect, and pray, the less vulnerable we are to those literal life sucking influences in our lives, both internal and external, that can pull us away from the light.
Staying in conversation and prayer with our Creator throughout the day strengthens us even further. The more we bring these activities into our daily routines, the deeper our relationship, the more we rest in Him. Just as showering wasn’t enough, so too, the more we strive to fill our days with Him, the stronger our spiritual defenses as well as joy in Him. I love to touch my necklaces throughout the day reminding me of His Presence. Even the smallest gestures can be so meaningful to keep us connected to Him.
So I can’t say I appreciate that horrible invader, but its interaction with me this week did spur these reflections, so for that I am grateful. Now that I got the message, maybe next time my inspiration can come from something a little less disgusting.