The sun was out, but the air was cool on that early fall afternoon last week in Atlanta. As always, I couldn't resist the call of nature as it invited me during my midday break from the computer. The beauty of the countryside and the coolness in the air of the changing seasons was particularly refreshing.
Later that evening, as my kids were having their after-school meal, my son noticed a lizard trying to slip out the glass backdoor … the problem for the little animal was, the door was closed!
"How and when did it get in anyway," I wondered? I must have left the back door open earlier that day … I don't remember exactly at what
moment – maybe while I was taking out the trash, or relaxing on the porch, or
had I left the back door open to let in some refreshing air into the house? Anyway, the kids ran upstairs and got daddy. I must say, by then, my daughter Abby and I (both scared of reptiles) were standing on chairs, screaming. As daddy tried to get the lizard out, it escaped under the stove. They couldn't get it out.
Thus began our undesireable-lizard-in-the-house experience.
We didn't give up … going as far as asking our neighbor's young son Carson to help us on the mission of riding our home of this univited guest. Note that Carson has had a lizard as a pet in the past and now has a pet snake. The little boy did a ood job trying to tell me how much he adored his snake and tried convincing me that snakes are good for the environment because they eat up insects. Well!!! I can't even stand the mention of the word, but I did listen and nod along. Anyway, after trying for more than an hour to get the lizard out, Carson was unsuccessful as the reptile slid into little nooks and cranies under household appliances we couldn't reach.
A few days passed, no sight of the lizard. You can imagine how uncomfortable it was, knowing it was there somewhere, lurking around, and probably resurfacing when no one was in sight, yet not being able to do anything about it.
In the days that would follow, there would be a couple of sightings by the kids, during which by the time daddy was called, the culprit would disappear.
After 12 days of harboring the stranger, finally yesterday daddy and the boys were able to back it into a corner, lure it into a basket and release it back to nature in the backyard! Hallelulia! We celebrated with hugs and high 5s .. although my Abby and I had conveniently been sitting outside during the mission that ended in success.
As I later thought about this whole lizard incident, it stuck me that in many ways, it was a reflection of what happens to us life:
1. Unwanted elements. How many times have certain undesirables that do not have a place in our lives slipped in and taken up camp in our minds, homes and families, robbing us of our inner peace and tranquility? Have you found yourself restless, uncomfortable, scurtling back and forth, trying to rid your life of elements that do not belong in the natural flow of things? These could be in the form of negative acquaintances, unhealthy alliances, bad business deals, behind the scene dealings shrouded in darkness, poisonous friendships, etc. We know we really don't want them there, sometimes we try to get rid of them, to steer our lives in a different direction, and when we don't succeed, we give up and let them stay. They make us uncomfortable, but we "accept them" and learn to live with them.
2. They grow, we shrink. I was actually having a conversation with my younger brother Zuzeeko yesterday during which I told him about the infamous lizard. I could sense his discomfort when I said we had been trying to get it out of the house unsuccessfully for over a week and each time we spotted it, it seemed to have grown bigger.
This leads me to ask, what undesirables in your life are feeding off of your energy, your mental aptitude, draining your resources and paralysing your dreams? We know they are there, we see them, feel them, their presence makes us uncomfortable; they take up more and more space at the expense of our happiness, our growth, our integrity … yet we let them be. As they grow bigger and fatter, wanting more, consuming more, demanding more, our fear of them increases, we become more unhappy, less productive and less "ourselves". We become more afraid to confront them, and shrink as they take over our lives, our homes and our communities? Why do we let these undesirables stay? Today, I encourage you to break free and reclaim your life.
3. Support system. Well, it was a good ending for us the Nsahs. The boys were successful in getting this unwanted stranger out. I was very thankful; couldn't stop hugging them; I even reflected on the importance of having a husband (you know how the little things can sometimes help bring the bigger picture into perspective – smile), because trust me, there was no way I would have gone toe-to-toe with that little animal. No way. But hubby and my little sons did. I was proud of them and oh! so grateful.
This leads me to ask, what if I didn't have them in my life? That would have meant another day, another night with the undesirable lizard under the same roof. Do you have people in your life you can lean on, whom you trust to help you fight off the undesirables that sneak into your life? Or are you surrounded by people who behind your back will help those negatives sneak in, then stand back and laugh as you struggle to clean house?
Just as it is of the utmost importance to have positive, uplifting and healthy relationships with loved ones who "got your back", it is equally important to rid our lives of negative, destructive and unhealthy elements that drain the peace out of us. I must say, it feels good to know the lizard is gone! … something I wanted you to think about. Cheers.