Sunday, June 24, 2007

Out, Louse! Out, I Say!

Q: What do you say when you're sitting at the park with a friend, watching the kids play, chatting about potty-training and good recipes, and your friend turns to you and says: "We've just gotten over lice at our house."?

A: Nothing! Because nobody ever confesses to lice-dom.

That's gonna change. I am telling (potentially) the whole world right now. About two weeks after we got back to the States in March I was combing Charles' hair and noticed some little bugs. Oh no! Oh yes, they were lice, followed by a discovery of a little louse nation in my son's beautiful golden hair. Later that day Charlie checked my hair and confirmed my fears, I had my own little nation atop my head.

Egads! Buy some RID. Break out the Lysol. Bring on the home remedies. We got that taken care of quickly and repeatedly (just to be sure). Only to find, several weeks later, that Charles and I again suffered from small bugs homemaking in our tresses. We took it up a notch, bought NIX this time, and re-treated both of us.

I have since periodically checked Charles and not found anything in his hair. I did bring a bottle of NIX to Bali this time, to be safe.

Which brings us to today, two and a half lice-free months later. Our first visit to the orphanage we went to on our last trip. We had a great time playing and drawing and talking with the kids. They immediately remembered Charles and Thomas and enjoyed showing them all things "boy" at the orphanage (the fish, their rooms, the basketball court, the swings). Toward the end of our visit I was taking pictures and noticed that one boy was, without a doubt, a louse host. I then noticed that many of the children had lice. Thus answering my question: "Where did we get lice?"

I discreetly shared my observation with Charlie, who immediately noticed the kids near him.

Christy's reaction: "Ahh! Lice! Try not to look freaked out! Let's go! See ya' next week kids, after I figure out how to keep your lice off my boys!"

Charlie's reaction: "That's kind of cool. In some very very small way we are getting to experience one aspect of what these kids' lives are like."

Is my husband amazing or what? Big deal! We got lice. These kids don't have parents who can take care of them, they live with 50 other kids. They don't get quality one-on-one time with Mom or Dad. They might not even know who their parents are.

I can't even call getting lice "suffering", but it's the closest thing I have right now. This is just a small example of something big I'm learning. Previously I have looked at suffering as something to get through. Something to try to "pray through", or even pray away. I don't think that' s how God intended it. I'm learning that suffering is a privilege, a gift from God: my human suffering allows me a small glimpse into the insanely large reality of Jesus' suffering on the cross. I will never know what Jesus' crucifixion was like, but the small things I suffer on earth bring me a step closer to Him.

So we'll be going back to the orphanage. I see how much these kids benefit our family. They are providing us with family time. My boys get to play with new friends. We get a look outside our personal lives, into something bigger. Likewise, when I see the older boys hovering around Charlie, and the younger boys playing near him and seeking out just one touch from him, I see the small blessing we might be.

But, I did use up the last bottle of NIX when we got home. And we're tossing around the idea of shaving the heads of two small boys.


Anonymous said...

Wow- Charlie is amazing. What a perfect immediate reaction. We are all blessed to have him in our family.

I am so happy to hear you are visiting the orphanage again. Charles and Thomas will benefit as much as the orphans for the experience. What an interesting give-and-take.

I was thinking about something similar last night. The Josephite priests that run St. Louis de Montfort have a major location in the Congo. They all took turns visiting the last several years. Fr. Charles gave a long slide show presentation to the religion classes when I taught at the high school. He told us how they opened up precious cans of canned fruit and vegetables to treat their U.S. guests like royalty. The whole water/sewer/utilities situation is non-existent for most and poor for a few. Educational opportunities are rare - and forget about it if you're a female.
BUT - they do have a ton of priests - I think 63 seminarians currently - where our youngest priest is over 50 and no current seminarians. Their Sunday Mass is 3+ hours long. Everyone attends and there is so much liturgical dancing and singing.

Their priests and some seminarians have visited us over the same # of years. I wondered last night if they go back to the Congo and say, "Wow, there is so much food. But you should hear their music - yikes!" (One brother played the conga drums for us for a year at Mass - that was so awesome.) Or they might say, "You wouldn't believe the houses they live in - the parish school facilities - the cars everyone owns. But no one wants to give up their lives to serve God as a priest, nun or brother. They have so much, but who will lead them? Who will be the priests among men?" (We do have 2 brand new deacons - which is wonderful and a huge sacrifice for those men.)

So this probably should have been a private e-mail to you because it's so long. It's funny how I was thinking/praying about this as I went to bed and woke up to your post.

God bless all you do in Bali - from business, to raising boys to ministering to the Christless and the parentless.

christy said...

christy--i have been thinking so much about how suffering is not something to always try to "get over" or get out of as quickly as possible--definitely my natural reaction. i think that the idea of trying to embrace suffering when it comes as being a gift from God or an opportunity to know Him is a big challenge for me. (and my sufferings are not even that big!) and, maybe even more important, to have my first reaction be to look to God's grace and mercy in the situation, rather than complaining or feeling sorry for myself.

how exciting that your family has the chance to share and lighten others' burdens!

Candace said...

Hey there Woman of Grace - this post about suffering reminded me that redemptive suffering was a new idea to you. Maybe you can discuss it with Charlie, and offer your small sufferings up for some special intention. There is a lot of need in the world and it is so easy to sit back and take all of our blessings for granted. This is something our family struggles with as we remodel our house and try to please our kids. It's not always easy to remember what is really important. God Bless you all and thanks for the reminder.


P.S. Nathan was two when I gave him his first buzz cut. It was so much easier to care for and nice in the summer. I wish he'd let me do it now. I just thought your boys would get a kick out of having hair like their daddy's (ha ha).

annecourager said...

:) Mayonnaise. you'll smell like salad dressing for a couple of days, but it works like a charm getting rid of the lice... IF you can get mayonnaise. You can always make it, too, if you can't buy it.

Don't you just love it when your hubby has a completely different perspective that opens your eyes and your world a bit larger?

BTW, I'm going to be in Santa Maria the last two weeks of July. Are you still in Bali then?

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