I recently visited where I was born in Kentucky. My family’s farm has been sold and the house removed. I hadn’t been there since it was sold three years earlier. For my own closure, I needed to go there.
It was hard to see the empty space where the house had been. I couldn’t stop the tears. I walked the area and pointed out where memories lived. It was a bittersweet moment.
Later that day at my sister’s, a spot on the back of my leg began to itch. A mosquito must have penetrated my jeans. In the middle of the night, I woke up, clawing at my leg. Dozens of spots were on my leg and itching to the point that I would gladly have made them bleed.
Over the next twenty-four hours, dozens more popped up. I had never had so many mosquito bites at one time. Then they got worse. More appeared. Nothing helped. They weren’t mosquito bites. They were chiggers buried in me!!!!
For days, I clawed at my skin. My entire left leg was covered. Then the right joined in. It moved up my body until all by my neck and head were covered in bites that bleed every day. I couldn’t stop scratching. During the night, I’d wake up clawing at them. My husband kept yelling at me to stop before any got infected. While he was right in doing so, I couldn’t stop it.
It’s been a couple of months now. The bites have stopped itches, but they left scars. Every time I look at any part of my body, I am reminded of the agony of that trip. I did not enjoy the trip as I should have all because of the misery. But I also see a lesson from it all.
There are times we can’t control our actions.
I’ve always been told that you can control how you react to things. To a degree, maybe. Yet our body and mind take over at times when we are unable to fight it. I couldn’t stop the itching. I couldn’t stop my nails from scratching while I slept. It was going to happen no matter what. These scars were destined to be a part of me.
I could lament them. I could think of all things I could have done differently. Aside from tying my hands while I slept the headboard, I was going to scratch myself. By choosing to get out of the car and walking my old home, I set in course something I could not change. Do I regret walking the homestead? No, I had to do it for saying goodbye to part of my past. That meant I had to exchange peace and smooth skin with closure.
How many people have to make exchanges like that and don’t even realize that? It gives me a different perspective I hope I can channel into my writing.