The previous piece, 'War and Peace', was written some time ago about my relationship with ants during our years living in Thailand. Returning to live in Asia has reawakened old emotions and caused me to reflect on re-emerging struggles. I thought that I had grown through my experiences, come to a place of mature acceptance and worked through my issues with ants but since the hot season has started I’m finding my tolerance waning and the old anger and irritation resurfacing.
I have been scratching an ant bite on my arm for the last week. The swelling and redness is now larger than a fifty cent coin. I’ve seen signs of ant colonies out the front of our house and have started fearing that we may yet again be living on a major ant civilzation. They have been in our towels and in our food despite our little water dishes around the cupboard legs. Can Cambodian ants swim? Last night there were several tiny ants in my bed. I wanted to cry because they are so devious and will use any opportunity to deliberately aggravate and tease me.
It’s possible my emotional response has at times been out of proportion to the actual threat. There is a history, of course, and perhaps even unconscious fears about lack of control lying hidden deep in my psyche.
It seems to me that our growth is often cyclical. We are faced with a problem, uncover the underlying issues, see the larger picture, work through our pain, let go of things and find a level of peace. But inevitably this harmony is challenged. Something will trigger the old disturbing emotions. So how do we find lasting resolution?
This is an area I’ve been doing some reading on. It is suggested that the path to genuine freedom and maturity is found in the transforming work of Christ through the renewal of our minds and the experience of His love right at the source of our pain. Maybe my prayer, then, should not be ‘Lord, take away these ants (i.e. my discomfort and my problems) but rather ‘Come Lord Jesus, meet me here and reveal yourself to me’.
The struggle for serenity continues but not alone and not without hope. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Elliot has just informed me we have cockroaches breeding in the kitchen !!!!