Sunday, March 13, 2016

Week 25: The Elephant in the Room...

It is crazy how such a small bug could make such a big impact.

Do you remember in elementary school when the teachers wouldn’t let people share hats and when people refused to share pillows? Do you remember the reason why? I do, but I ignored that reason before and thought it was silly. Not anymore.

I’m about to say it; are you ready? …I got lice.

There it is. I said it.

Other people had gotten lice around us recently, but our GAP group was lice free… until they checked my head and found some critters making a home on my scalp.

Not only did I have lice, but I had super lice: more likely to burrow in the head and be a bigger deal than the others. Lice attach onto American’s heads way better than Dominican’s heads (why us???) and a group went out to an unknowingly lice-infested village… Nevertheless they decided to also hop on over to my head, which I guess could be considered a compliment since lice like clean hair. Gotta find the good in every situation, I guess :)

But with that compliment also comes a lot of complications. The act of having lice wasn’t the problem, but rather all the treatments and special precautionary measures that I had to take this week consumed all of my free time. I stayed over with the interns in order to not infect any other GAP student (which was actually kind of fun but unsuccessful as another student got lice after me) and had to put things like vinegar, Listerine, and a weird Dominican gel treatment in my hair. I had to wash ALL my clothes, put my mattresses and pillows out to bake in the sun, and after all that was done, I had to basically re-move into my apartment.

Those inconveniences weren’t as bad as how I felt emotionally, though. Do you remember the unclean people in the Bible that had to let everyone know how unclean they were, wherever they went? I really feel for those people more than I have before. I’m definitely not saying that my situation was as bad as theirs, but I truly have a new level of understanding for those people that I had never had. I was so nervous for anyone else to get lice from me that I basically isolated myself from people until it was gone. I stayed a good, long distance from everyone I came into contact with. I felt like a bother, and I didn’t want to get anyone “unclean” as well.

And this lice epidemic for me ended in three days. I cannot imagine being unclean for years, or being considered the outcast because of a chronic medical situation I had. It’s a pretty lonely feeling, and I would never wish it on anybody.

Feeling unclean doesn’t have to just be physical, though. Have you ever felt unclean in your spiritual walk? I know I have. We feel like we aren’t worthy, like we have to let people know how many faults we have or hide all of them in fear that we won’t be liked because we feel so dirty. Yet, while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us. While we are dirty, Christ doesn’t decide to keep His healthy distance. He comes right up to us, takes us in, and calls us His children. Only after that do we become cleansed, not before. How awesome we are to have a God like that.

I had some people who really demonstrated me that type of love. They took me in and made me feel welcome; they invited me to join them in study and in daily life while the rest of the GAP students were getting checked and taking the precautionary measures necessary to make sure that it didn’t spread to anyone else. I am so thankful for that group that took me in, for they brushed my hair more times than I can count and helped me with this whole de-bugging process. If y’all are reading this right now, you’re the best!

I learn more and more about the Dominican every day…
-          If you are at someone’s house and yawn, you are signaling to them that you are hungry and they should feed you. In the DR, yawning either means that you’re tired or you’re hungry.
-          If you are the maid of honor or the best man at a wedding, you are responsible for helping pay for part of the wedding. Dominicans will ask Americans to be their maid of honor or best man, assuming that they’ll help pay, and get offended when they don’t. #TheMoreYouKnow

-          As of right now, I am lice free! Wohoo!!!
-          I had some pretty fantastic chocolate lava cake this weekend. ‘Nuff said.

Prayer Requests
-          We have a lot of things coming around the corner! Host homes, classes, and two weeks of translating for short term mission groups… Pray for strength and that I remember all I’ve learned regarding Spanish.
-          I’m still in a bit of spiritual warfare. Please be praying… hard
-          The end of this wonderful adventure is just around the corner. Please be praying that I am “all-in” while I’m here while also being able to figure out specifics for what I am doing this summer to keep up with Spanish, work with ministries, and work in general.