My wife volunteered to remove it; and I quickly acquiesced. Unfortunately, when she grasped it with a pair of tweezers and pulled, all that came away was the headless body of the insidious parasite. “ Little Mr. Ichabod” had left his entire cranium, complete with an ongoing working set of jaws, gnawing away at my innards. The result? You guessed it, was a trip for yours truly to the doctor’s office.
Once there, the doctor dug a little deeper, as it were, and in short order, was rewarded with a degree of success. I say degree because that success was partial; for all the doctor was able to retrieve was half of a tick’s head. Let’s just say the little booger was using its head; and it was doing so for all it was worth and to the very last moment!
Upon hearing this news, I quite naturally freaked out! After all, like some of you, I have seen pictures of the heads of such hideous little creatures magnified a bazillion times over and displayed on the internet. Who in the right mind would want any portion of any such abominable creature embedded in their flesh?!
To his credit, the doctor repeatedly assured me that I would be okay. I was told that the remaining bits of the creature, infinitesimal as they were, would either be absorbed by my body’s defenses or else rejected by it and forced to the surface of the skin where it would be expelled as detritus. (Easy for him to say; they weren’t in his body and eating him alive!)
But just to be sure that I would be okay, I was placed on a regimen of antibiotics, which would supposedly annihilate any residual germs and/or infection introduced by the sinister foreign body lodged within me. Needless to say, I went straight to the pharmacy and got my medicine. What is more, I have not missed one single dose since the episode unfolded!
I am now happy to report that, so far at least, I have managed to survive the ordeal. That’s right – so far so good. As of yet, there is no sign of Lyme Disease! Nor is there any hint of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever! Time will tell, of course; but all indications are that I will survive this untoward assault on my being.
But while my body has been mending, my mind has been racing. As a result, I thought I would share a few of my thoughts here.
Upon reflection, it strikes me that ticks are little more than parasites. Their entire purpose in life seems to be to attach themselves to some unfortunate host and then to proceed to suck the life out of that hapless individual. Unless I miss my guess, that’s about it. Otherwise, ticks seem to serve no essential purpose. As such, they are an unfortunate, if ubiquitous, aspect of life.
But what is worse is the fact that I have known a few people who are little more than much the same. Who among us has not known such a person? The kind who attaches his or herself to someone else in order merely to suck the life out of them? And indeed, in many cases, to do so until they eventually bleed that person dry?
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I certainly believe in helping those who are less well-off then myself. After all, helping those who cannot help themselves is the essence of Christianity. Otherwise, where would any of us be if Christ Himself had not come to our aid?!
What is more, being a follower of Christ means that I am sent as a lamb to the slaughter. For this reason, I am willingly to give of myself on behalf of others, even as Christ did for me.
Still, the same Christ Who gave Himself for me and you, and Who said we are to go the extra mile on behalf of others did not further specify that we should go three, or four, or any more miles. The same Christ who said we should turn the other cheek knew we only had two cheeks. He also knew that we only had two hands.
And perhaps that is exactly why we should be willing to offer a helping hand once or twice; but thereafter, we should be a little more discerning!
It is for this reason, no doubt, that the Bible spends just as much time admonishing us to beware of shiftless characters as it does admonishing us to help our fellow man. A person in genuine need is one thing; but someone engaged in endless chicanery is yet another! That is to say that the same Bible that says we are to look to the interests of others as much as to our own interests also says that, if anyone is not willing to work, neither should he or she be allowed to eat.
It strikes me that the message here is clear. While compassion is essential to those who purport to follow Christ, forbearance nonetheless has its limits! All of this is to say that a wise person will eventually recognize whenever he or she has turned enough cheeks and/or has gone enough extra miles. Wise persons will thus recognize whenever a parasite has attached itself to them, and will quickly take steps to prevent themselves from being sucked dry as a result!
And the sooner the better. After all, whenever a parasite has affixed itself, with each passing moment, one’s blood is draining, one’s strength is ebbing, and above all, one’s clock is “tick”ing…
He who has ears to hear, let him now hear...
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock...