We had a couple house-sit for us while we went on vacation. Vacation! That’s something new and different! Other than a quick camping trip now and then, or a dart tournament on a weekend when I was out there tweaking, I hadn’t had a real vacation in almost, well, ever!!! Two whole weeks on the road and a 10 day cruise to Alaska – what an experience! Absolutely fantastic! But that’s another story.
Anyways, our house-sitting couple had locked themselves out of the house 5 days before we returned. We walked into a house with dirty dishes stacked up in the sink, and ants had taken over the kitchen. And I do mean they had taken over, there were thousands of them. Funny thing about ants. Once they find food it takes a long time to stop them from returning. (must have been a lot of food in that sink :o)
Being the tweaker that I am, of course I had to make my own ant poison. A strong solution of ammonia and water with just a bit of dish soap in a spray bottle and they were history. But they would come back – and I mean 2 and 3 times a day! There was a crack in the wall and a line of ants would form just as soon as that solution dried. After a few days of this, I guess Stockholm syndrome must have set in because I started to sympathize with the poor buggers. They were so determined. Relentless. Constantly, quietly marching to their death. All in the search of food. I even started to admire them, these living creatures, God’s creatures, with a single minded and unwavering quest, searching for life. Wait. Stop. What am I thinking? I have the right to have a clean kitchen. No bugs, no insects, no crawly things in my house! It’s my house, not theirs! Mike! Get a grip!!!
I started to watch them closer. The steady stream of ants had subsided to maybe a hundred or so at a time, then to about 50 or so, then about 20. Still, they kept coming. Oh, hey, maybe only once a day after about the third week, but they kept coming. Stupid buggers!
Then one day there was this one stubborn ant. He (I assumed it was a he) would stumble once or twice, fall down, then after a second or two, get back up and start walking (walking?) again. Whoa, here’s something new. I’d spray him again. Down he’d go, then it was as if he’d shake himself off and start marching across the counter again. I was intrigued. This guy refused to die. Time after time I’d spray him and time after time he shook it off and was back on the road again. I suddenly found myself relating to this little guy as he refused to die. Stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! Reminded me of me when I was out there using, and needed to re-up, nothing could stop me. Then it hit me and I was laughing like crazy! Standing in the middle of my kitchen, a spray bottle in one hand and pointing to this stubborn little ant with my other, I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, yelling “It’s me, it’s me!!!” My wife thought I had lost it, I was laughing so hard. How messed up is that?!? Here I was about 2 years clean, and comparing myself to this little ant. Once a tweaker, always a tweaker! Laughing and pointing, “It’s me, it’s me.” That’s not the half of it, either. Then I got this huge revelation that this one ant was like having one brain cell left, and if he could get back to the hive (is that what it’s called?) and tell the others then they would stop killing themselves trying to re-up. So here I am, a grown man in my 50’s standing in the middle of my kitchen spraying roadblocks at a single little ant trying to get it to return to it’s home with the message that it’s death out there, don’t go back out, stay.
By now my wife is laughing at this whole scene, too. And so did my home group when I shared this story. Unfortunately for that one little ant, it refused to learn and I too realized that ants can be as stupid as man. You can’t teach an ant anymore than you can get someone else clean. It’s nature. But I, at least, learned to laugh at myself. And re-confirmed the lesson that you can’t help those who don’t want to be helped. I guess that’s the attraction rather than promotion thing. We can only attract someone by being a good example. It just can’t be forced. Or maybe it’s that “lead a horse to water” thing.” When they get thirsty enough, they will want what we got. But, the laughing at myself thing? It felt good. Thanks for letting me share.