I drew the curtains and saw that there were ants everywhere. Everywhere. Hundreds of ants crawling all over our floor. All over the bag that I used to carry the children's snacks. Ants were storming in through our front door and our screen door. Ants were streaming into our kitchen.
The boys were still in bed and I instructed them to grab some books and stay in their beds. Breakfast will not be served for a while. My head was swimming in words like infestation and invasion as I tiptoed around the apartment, trying to decide the best course of action. An ant found its way up my pajamas and bit my leg. That prick, that tiny sting, planted a seed of fear in my disorientated heart.
I can't let them near the boys. The baby, I can't let them bite the baby. But they were everywhere. There were hundreds of them, and one of me.
Last week, we walked by the Godiva store when we were running errands. The boys asked me whether they could pick up a chocolate sample for daddy. This has become somewhat of a tradition for us, and it was really hard to say no to boys who were being kind.
The sweet storekeeper found out that the boys were saving their samples for their dad, so she generously packed an entire bag of chocolate caramel as a gift for the boys. When she checked my membership, she reminded me that since it was my birthday month, I was allowed to pick five free truffles.
After a chorus of thank yous and happy shrieks from the boys, we walked out of the store carrying two bags of free chocolate. Being students, Godiva is not exactly on our monthly budget. The boys skipped all the way to the car and shouted, "Thank you, God! Thank you for the chocolate!"
I thought to myself, surely these must be the crumbs of glory. These must be the crumbs that fall generously from the Table of the Lord, where his children will feast for all eternity. Thanks be to God indeed.
My birthday surprise yesterday morning was less pleasant. While the boys waited patiently in their beds, I launched my attack against these tiny enemies. The fear that was planted by the sting on my leg grew into a seedling.
Two hours later, the boys were hungry for breakfast but the ants were still streaming in. No matter how many ants I killed, they kept appearing.
Suddenly, the crumbs that I had failed to pick up from the night before seemed to have multiplied, and magnified. The sticky sugary residue that I had neglected to wipe off my kitchen floor looked like a banquet table for ants. I had known for some time that I was not a detail-oriented person. But yesterday, my weakness seemed so abhorrent to me. Guilt took roots and they entangled my soul.
Throughout the day, Hans and the boys would wish me a happy birthday. I would say to them (half jokingly): No, it is not my birthday. I refuse.
Hans took his entire day off to help me clean the house. Together, we sprayed our adversaries with vinegar at their point of entry. We wiped them off at their path. Vinegar, wipe. Vinegar, wipe. Vinegar, wipe. We gave Emeth a vinegary rag and put him in charge of the floor under the tables and chairs.
Our victory was not swift, but it was sure. By end of the day, the ants were nearly gone. Working alongside my husband, in the company of our children, with this magical, non-toxic liquid was a good thing for my soul.
Fear withered; my heart was at rest. These little ants led me to the real crumbs of glory.
Family, friends, home, life, redemption, and hearts set free from guilt — these are the crumbs that fall generously from the Table of the Lord, where his children will feast for all eternity.
Last night, we celebrated with fancy chocolate. Though they paled in comparison, they, too, were glorious.
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures,fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us,like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. - C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory