Have you ever had lice?
I hadn’t. Not until last year. Christian’s former workplace had given us a generous gift certificate for Christmas a few years back, so I took Hannah for a haircut from the participating vendor (an upscale salon, which will remain nameless).
Lo and behold, she scratched her golden curls almost immediately afterward, prompting me to advise her to shower and wash off all the hair fragments lingering on her neck and hairline. Nothing more was mentioned.
Two days later as I shampooed Abby, I yelped when I noticed tiny squiggles squirming around on her scalp. Christian rushed to the doorway and grimaced at the sight.
“This means war!”
Off to CVS he dashed, soon to return with lice kits, extra combs, and lots of shampoo. All five of us soon became victims of these persistent, itchy little creatures. Christian dug out his electric razor and rid himself of the beasts entirely. He also shaved John’s head while we girls watched, coveting, wishing it were as easy to rid our long manes of the uninvited guests. We scrubbed and combed, scrubbed and combed, combed and scrubbed until our scalps turned red and raw.
I bagged up nearly all of our blankets and throw pillows, sheets and stuffed animals, clothes and towels – thirty garbage bags full – and headed to the laundromat. Of all times for my dryer to be broken! The kids fell in love with the laundromat and asked me if we could sell our washer and dryer.
I found myself thankful I’d gone to the laundromat because, as I placed contaminated laundry items into the washer, lice literally hopped from the sheets onto my arm – ICK! I squealed and shoved the entire mass into the machine, and then I ran to the sink to thoroughly scrub my arms in hot water.
I went home and scrubbed the floors and carpets, curtains and blinds, sofas and beds. We sanitized the entire house from top to bottom, leaving no stone unturned.
We did NOT want to go through that again. Ever.
Needless to say, the word lice now has a new meaning in our home, but amazingly, that meaning has morphed yet again. Last night as Christian and I trained for our upcoming spring triathlons after the kids went to bed (a very fun date night – he runs on the treadmill while I bike – or vice versa), we watched a fascinating documentary titled Corrie ten Boom: A Faith Undefeated on Pure Flix (http://pureflix.com) about a courageous Holocaust survivor.
I love her story. I’d read The Hiding Place many years ago, and as I briefly searched for the movie, I came across this documentary that showed her real home, the watchmaker’s shop, etc.
One thing that I’d forgotten and am thankful to have been reminded of as we watched was how Corrie and her sister, Betsie, learned to be thankful for everything. During their imprisonment, they lived in a barracks that was infested with lice and fleas, so much so that the guards refused to enter it. They left the prisoners’ food at the door and let them pretty much fend for themselves.
Horrible tales surfaced about what guards had done to prisoners in the other barracks, but thanks to lice and fleas, the happenings in Barracks 28 at Ravensbruck proved vastly different. Twice daily, Corrie read from a small Bible that the enemy had miraculously not confiscated, and all 700 women prayed together in this small room built to hold only 200. Thrust together by their dire circumstances and crammed into a filthy hole of a home, these brave prisoners held on, surviving one minute at a time.
As I snuggle up in my soft pillow-topped queen, complete with clean sheets, thermal blankets, and patchwork quilt, I feel spoiled, unworthy, and humbled as the legacy of these incredible saints thunders through my mind. I loathe my comforts and detest my comparatively complacent spirituality as these women risked their lives for years, hiding and helping those hunted and cruelly sought out, those if caught would be tortured and possibly killed by the hands of an unyielding, voracious enemy.
How my heart breaks for them, these precious sisters, enduring such terrible suffering and horror day after day after day. And yet, the recordings taken from Corrie’s speeches after her miraculous release reveal a radiant, joy-filled voice so powerful that goosebumps erupt down my arms every time I hear it. Devotion to God permeated her words and defined her life as she acted without hesitation, reservation, or thought of self-preservation.
Both Corrie and Betsie sacrificed all to save those who would likely be lost had God not used them to intervene on behalf of His people.
I scarce can take it in.
May their example serve as a searing reminder to me that no matter how bad things get, no matter what circumstances I face tomorrow, God will help me find something for which to thank Him. In the darkest nights, when I’m infested with the lice and fleas of my life, may I fight to find something good, something for which to praise Him, even when I don’t understand the “why” of it all.
Thank you, Corrie and Betsie, for reminding me to find the good and that the Ultimate Good can always be found anywhere.