The Recluse: A Marital Metaphor

Genesis 3:7 & 9-10 “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness.”

So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. The Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

My husband is a typical first-born. That means he likes to be in charge and give instructions. It has worked out so far in our marriage, as I am a third child who is used to being told what to do. Though like most younger siblings,  I have the gift of selective hearing.

For almost 5 years, my husband has been telling me to not keep our 20 pound bag of dog food in a garden storage bin located on my front porch. And for 5 years, I have not ‘heard’ his entreaties.

Why ? First of all, it is convenient for me to keep it close to the back door. Secondly, and more importantly, I like to keep the smelly dog food neatly hidden away from all onlookers. And, I am an expert on ‘neatly hidden away.’

As a matter of fact, my tendency to hide things *read* myself has been a huge struggle in our marriage.

I once heard Dan Allendar define shame as “being seen and found to be worthy of rejection.” As I think about that moment back in Genesis, when Adam and Eve looked into each others eyes and no longer found acceptance and safety, it penetrates my heart.  Because not only had they lost a sense of value for one another, they immediately no longer felt at home in their own skin.

In the face of potential rejection and being seen or ‘caught’, it is a natural response seek refuge and to flee for the dark places inside of ourselves. The only problem is that hiding from others robs us of amazing opportunities to experience the gospel. To experience the beauty of being covered by grace and mercy in our weaknesses.

Which brings me to my story.

About a month ago, on my to do list, was to vacuum out this ghastly, dark garden storage bin and return it to an ordered state.  Since feeding Lucy is a chore for the children, the bottom of this bin is often littered with dog food.

It was a beautiful, warm fall day as I reached in to empty out all of the contents. Incidentally, it also houses old shoes, gardening tools and gloves(mine and the girls), and outside yard toys.  It was when I lifted out a smaller rubbermaid tub,  that I saw it. A very large, violin shaped, brown spider.

I froze, not knowing what to do.

My husband( the one who warned me about keeping a viable food source in a dark place) happened to be home, so I called him outside. He looked down, and at that moment we saw one more large spider, and several smaller ones who were not happy about being disturbed.

He said very calmly, “Carrie, those are Brown Recluse.”

He had me bring him some type of heavy duty pest spray. As he began peppering the bottom of the bin, more spiders came out of the crevices. It was a nightmare.

I have done many, many foolish things in my life, but never one that had this many potential ramifications. How many times had my girls or I reached into this compartment in the last few months? I wanted to cry. And I wanted to hide.

It was my husband’s voice that pulled me from my terror filled/guilt ridden reverie. It was so gentle and so kind. He began giving me small instructions. “Carrie, get me some bleach,” he said. When he doused the sides so the spiders could not climb out, still more came out of the nooks. When we thought they were all dead,  we began bagging up the contents. Everything had to be thrown away.

While we worked together cleaning up this horrible mess hiding 15 feet from our back door, I felt very, very sheepish. I wanted to hide and not be seen. It was in that shame that my husband met me. There was not one word of condemnation or an embittered, “I told you so.”

I received his grace and his aid with open arms, and it covered all of me.

**please do not talk about this story around my kids. Thankfully, they have no idea. And now that i have a better system for keeping our dog food, I’d like for them to continue in this chore.:)**

1 thought on “The Recluse: A Marital Metaphor

  1. Poor C, as much as you hate spiders. Glad it all worked out – for occasional dog feeders as well. I never saw anything in there.

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