Friday, December 19, 2008

The fly

It seems as though when there are flies around, there are clouds of them, even if there aren't. The flies over here are especially rapacious, and won't take "no" for an answer. I've never seen flies as persistent and focused as these creatures are.

It's as if they have homing devices, all set to 'human flesh'.

This is all the more annoying given the fact that there's so much else over here for a fly to love. By and large, this place is a dump, though the second- and third-timers here tell me the place is immaculate compared to what it once was.


Anyway, with the hectares of garbage lying around, ripening for their gustatory satisfaction, these flies ought to have better things to do than to dive-bomb us. Especially as SFC McG and I are waiting for aircraft to come pick us up to take us somewhere.

Lately, it seems as though SFC McG and I are spending a LOT of time waiting for aircraft. (To go outside the wire to do Mass (about 45 minutes' duration, max) is taking at least eight hours, and has taken as long as 14 hours.) So during this Advent, the season of waiting, he and I have spent an inordinate amount of time looking to the clouds of heaven for the one(s) who'll take us home.

One night, we were supposed to be collected at 0019 (nineteen minutes after midnight), after celebrating Mass at 1900 (7 p.m.). The birds finally arrived at 0310. We'd left the office at 1330, so by the time I got "home" to my CHU (containerized housing unit), it was 0430.

Makes for a long day.

And a lot of flies.

Especially the dastardly ones whose mission, it seems, is to prevent me from snoozing -- I mean, doing my prayers -- while waiting for the choppers to show up. SFC McG can sleep through anything, so at times he looks like a pitiful third-world child in a TV commercial starring Sally Struthers, except that he's sound asleep.

Sometimes I really hate that about him....

I, on the other hand, figure I look like I'm in a TV sketch as Larry, Moe, and Curly all at the same time, slapping myself upside the head. Makes for difficult snoozing -- I mean, praying.

So there I was in my CHU, and a blasted fly would just not leave me alone. It was actually cold in the CHU, since I'm not sleeping with the heater on (I woke up being able to see my breath one morning recently -- and it's not because I'd not brushed my teeth the night before, Jason!), so one would figure these creatures would slow down and at least make themselves easy targets.

However, I don't have a fly swatter, and these insects seem to be much more agile and adept at avoiding impending doom than domestic flies at home. It never ceases to amaze me how one little thing (like a fly) can become the nexus of all the annoyances in my life, and drive me to the brink.

Perhaps it's from being tired most of the time. Perhaps it's from not getting enough real exercise (15- to 18-hour days don't leave much time to pump iron...). Perhaps it's the hype of the holidays hitting home. Perhaps it's simply that I'm a curmudgeon. I'm not sure what all was behind it, but I found myself really wanting to exact revenge on that fly.

I wanted to make him pay. I was going to show him who's the boss!

Not a pretty sight, to be sure. Certainly not the picture of sobriety and serenity, as I'm careening around my room, swatting here and there, muttering imprecations under my breath (at least I hope they were under my breath!). As I became more and more aware of becoming Lady Macbeth, I had a spiritual awakening.

Especially after I'd finally trapped the fly in a bowl into which it'd landed. (The bowl had the as-yet-uncleaned remains of my microwave macaroni and cheese (mmmmm) snack from earlier in the evening, and had evidently distracted the little beastie long enough to allow me to place a book atop the bowl, finally delivering the offender into my clutches.)

As I contemplated how to mete out an appropriate punishment upon this tiny emissary of Satan, I managed to take a couple of deep breaths and realize I was in the middle of a spiritual awakening. I really hate it when that happens, because it means that what I've so carefully planned to do, and have been so looking forward to doing, probably ain't gonna happen, after all. Rats!

Of course, I could choose to ignore the inward promptings of the Spirit. God knows, so much of my life exemplifies that! But I've learned over the years of painful (and slow!) recovery from alcoholism that I ignore the still, small voice in the depth of my heart at my own peril.

So I took some deep breaths, and knew what needed to be done. Nuts!

I wrestled like Jacob on his ladder with this inner spirit, but only reluctantly, as if for show. Because I knew what I needed to do, for myself, in the mist of this war zone.

I opened the door of my CHU, walked outside in my stocking feet, closed the door of my CHU, and let the fly go free.

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

View My Profile

No comments:

Powered By Ringsurf