Ants, Attitude, and Anne

I’ve been reading L.M.Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. I’m almost done with the third one. If I begin writing a little too flowery, that’s why. I lifted my head from the book this morning and thought, “I’m afrost with delight o’er the thought of what will be accomplished today.”

It’s really similar to picking up an accent after talking over the phone with one of my Michigan relatives. It is suddenly who I am. Sadly, “afrost” isn’t even a word, but it felt like one after reading that book for a while, and I can easily give you a definition.

Afrost: (adj.)
1. covered over by something temporary, delicate and beautiful.
2. having an identifying glow bespeaking anticipation of what’s to come or what has been.

Anne Shirley has all my attention right now and I’m so glad I am reading her now, and not when I was too young to appreciate this beautiful writing. My favorite quote so far:

“The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.”

This one just for the pleasure:

“Do you think amethysts can be the souls of good violets?”

Another that made me quite burst with laughter:

“Oh, of course there’s a risk in marrying anybody, but, when it’s all said and done, there’s many a worse thing than a husband”

Isn’t it lovely to have a book in one’s hand and be anchored secure in the knowledge that the ups and downs of fiction can only make the real living more fun? It won’t make us silly, unless we demand our happy endings and miss wisdom’s muscles built on tangible trials and uphill climbs.

Which is where I am. On an uphill climb.

I am happy to say it is indeed uphill, though going down may have the advantage of gravity, it also seems to lower one into darkness and is just as treacherous as up. I don’t know why I’m so sure it’s up, except that I seem to be having more and more sunshine on my face these last weeks, and I am confident that it is the absence of valley shadows that I’m experiencing.

I’ve not been enjoying the climb as much as I wish I had. I’ve been carrying a burden with me and it’s not one to be proud of. A bad attitude had settled on me, one full of selfish criticism and uncaring misunderstanding. I won’t go into detail, because it would require a telling of things I’ve let go of, and don’t wish to trudge into once again. I’ve said enough for most of you to understand. We all have held ourselves too tight at one time or another.

The funny thing about it all, is that it was the ants that showed me my shame.

“Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,” Proverbs 6:6 (NASB)

Every summer they come to visit. Those industrious, little, sugar-loving insects show up from down deep below the floor boards and find the smallest of ways in and out. Every summer until last year I have called a professional to come and spray. It’s a mighty inconvenience, the clearing of cupboards, the washing and rewashing of anything that may have come in contact, the time and money lost in all of this is frustrating, but we kept at it. Always they told us how the beds around the house were impossible to clear for good and impossible to predict which way the ants would come in. Finally, last year after praying and reading my favorite book, I straightened a little in my back and stood up to the little varmints. I stood in the doorway of my kitchen looking outside to the back porch and told the ants, aloud, right to their faces, that they weren’t welcome in my home anymore. That as a child of God, redeemed from the curse it was my privilege to take dominion over every creeping thing on the earth and they were as creepy as any of them. I said it in the name of Jesus and I closed the door to them for the rest of the year. They didn’t come back, save one here or there, probably someone’s old ant, visiting relatives, and hadn’t heard my rebuke.

Then, this summer, in the middle of my valley and encumbered by my burden, the ants came back. I repeated my announcement about dominion and it seemed they didn’t care a wit. I pondered and read the Bible to be sure I hadn’t used some incorrect syntax, but all seemed in order, they just weren’t hearing me.

The other night though, after some soul searching, about my burden not the ants, I woke up to a phrase that wouldn’t leave me alone. It was something to this effect:

“You can’t take dominion over what comes into your home if you are holding the door open and inviting other things in that don’t belong.”

I knew then, that I had to let go of my burden. It was a selfish, me-first, attitude that had never been good to me. It only sounded good in my head. It was robbing me of the comfort and confidence I had always treasured in my home. It wasn’t just the ants who were storming my kitchen that showed me the consequence, it was the utter lack of sunshine I was feeling on my soul. I went back to sleep that night and woke up better. Not only relieved of my need to prove I needed coddling, I woke up to a house free of ants too.

And they haven’t been back. Even when the boys and I inadvertently leave something small under the table for them. I was, sadly, more worried about feeding those ants than I was about feeding my burden.

One more Montgomery quote to say farewell:
“All life lessons are not learned at college,’ she thought. ‘Life teaches them everywhere.”

One thought on “Ants, Attitude, and Anne

  1. I love the way the Lord shows us things. This morning as I was pulling weeds from around my blueberry bushes I thought, “I don’t know what you are but you have to go”! It struck me at that moment that there were some weeds in me. I didn’t know what they were but they needed to go.

    Uphill climbs, downhill climbs, they’re both great for revealing things that don’t belong. Love this.

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