“To him who is in fear everything rustles”.
“Who loves not a false imagining, an unreal character in us; but looking through all the rubbish of our imperfections, loves in us the divine ideal of our natures – not the man that we are, but the angel that we may be.”
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Our home in Florida was built in the 1930s. It sat vacant for much of the decade when we moved to Utah. The bottom line is that when we moved back we had to yank it back from the insects, varmints and snakes that called it home. We still get an occasional little visitor and I suppose the battle will be never-ending.
One night after retiring to bed I felt a little tickle on my hand. I quickly thought “spider” and slapped my hand in the dark with my other hand trying to kill it. I turned on the lamp on my night stand and rolled back over expecting to find a dead spider. It was nowhere to be found among the pillows or sheets so I rolled back over to turn out the light. When I did I saw it sitting right on my stomach still very much alive! It was a big spider! I slapped it and this time killed it.
I am not complaining but it just doesn’t seem right for a man to have to sleep with spiders! This was the second one in as many months. My wife is even getting used to it. We keep a bottle of spray handy and also treat the house professionally and timely. And yet, there is still the possibility that we will find one.
The honest truth is that there is more that we could do. The windows are old and screens torn in places which means that there is not a perfect seal around them. There are multiple places where bugs can sneak in on any given day if the door or windows are left open. There is a chimney with an opening to the outside. The yard is full of trees and bushes and bugs. We have decided that we will attack the problem using our resources but have not decided to spend all of the resources necessary to reduce the possibility of a spider climbing on us at night to zero.
We could build a new house for example. Or I could spend thousands of dollars and replace these antique windows and screens. This would of course have the benefit of reducing our electric bill too. However, it would change the “character” of the old house. I certainly don’t want to change the “patina” with a new caulk and paint job…or do I? (that is a stretch to use the word “patina” here but after watching Antique Roadshow and American Pickers on TV so much I just wanted to use it)
This same type of problem may exist in our circle of family and friends. Sometimes we need to accept a less than perfect situation just to protect the quality, integrity, character and all that is good with our family and friends. Nobody is perfect and when we let the little imperfections begin to become irritants we begin to demand more than what the ultimate solution is worth. We want our spouse to stop snoring, we want our kids to be perfect, we want our in-laws to stop interfering, we want our friends to stop cussing, we want our neighbors to mow their lawn. The list is endless.
These “spiders in the night” are bothersome but many times are not worth the cost to fix. An overbearing thoughtless response to fix them may result in the loss of a loyal tried and true relationship. Of course we need to remember that our own “patina” probably ain’t that pretty either. The cleaned up and perfect version for everybody not only doesn’t exist for long but once everyone’s “patina” is gone it takes a long time to get it back. You feel good for a moment as you slap the spider dead only to realize that you have bruised and damaged yourself in the process. When I killed the spider I did it by slapping my stomach quickly and with force. I hurt myself to accomplish my mission. Its okay with a spider but not worth the pain you will feel by trying to make the situation and people around you perfect.