Facing Fear with a Fly Swatter

We moved into our new house a few weeks ago.  People had been living here right before us, but I don’t know what their pest control regimen was, or their daily house-cleaning habits.  We’ve lived in the South long enough to know that no matter what we do, there will be a variety of creepy crawlies here and there.  Since moving in, we’ve seen tiny “ghost ants”, one or two roaches, and my absolute least favorite, two spiders of substantial size.

I’m fine squishing and spraying ants, and I’ll even whack a roach with a heavy shoe pretty readily.  The eight-legged invaders positively paralyze me.  It doesn’t help that V was bitten by one days after moving here (it was a brown recluse, but my husband is fine, thankfully).  My mom caught one, probably a wolf spider, for us two weeks ago.  (Thanks, Mom.)  The second one of this kind showed up a few nights ago after the kids were in bed and my husband was out at a dinner meeting for work.  For a while, it was low enough on the wall for me to squash it, but I just couldn’t do it!  I saw it and for someone who doesn’t curse, I said some pretty nasty things to that spider.  I even wailed at it, “why are you so big?!?”.  Then the spider scurried away, up the wall, out of my reach.  I sat and watched it like  a hawk until my husband came home.

Eliminating a spider was probably at the bottom of V’s list of things he felt like doing after coming home late in the evening, but being the loving husband that he is, he did his best.  I actually didn’t even ask him if he’d gotten it, because part of me thought if I didn’t talk about it, it just wouldn’t exist.  He didn’t talk about it either, but I had a feeling it had evaded him.

I was right.  This morning, while puttering around the kitchen, I saw it high on the wall near my bedroom.  I knew I couldn’t reach it with any spray or shoe, so I just watched it.  I didn’t tell the kids, and they were fine playing in the living room.  Fittingly, I had called a pest control company earlier today to schedule service.  I secretly hoped that the pest control person would come and take care of the spider for me, but I knew that was pretty unlikely.

While I was emptying the dishwasher, 8-Legs started ambling down the wall.  I knew I could reach it physically, but I wasn’t so sure mentally.  Could I get myself close enough to it?  What could I use?  What would work?

I grabbed a can of bug killer and V’s sandals.  Little A walked over to where I was, finding me spraying at the spider and throwing alternating sandals at it.  I told her and L to stay back a bit because of the spray, but of course they both wanted to see the spider and also wanted to know why I wouldn’t just whack it.

I must have sprayed half the can of bug killer spray at that thing.  It curled up a bit and stayed so still I thought I had done it in.  No.  It started crawling again.  At least it had slowed down a little.  I reached the fly swatter and saw my opportunity.  All those years of tennis were about to see another use.  WHACK.  WHACK.  WHACK.

It’s still there, under V’s sandal.  The fly swatter is still there, too.  I just can’t bring myself to scooping up the remains yet.

The kids watched with a mixture of interest, amusement, and awe as I took care of our unwanted visitor.  What are they doing now?  Watching a video on my phone about unusually large spiders.

I feel triumphant that I got it.  It’s hard to face things of which we are afraid.  We dance around them, avoid them, get someone else to do it, cry, and resist.  Armed with the right tools, though, we can start looking at things with courage.  It feels good.  What’s your fear today?  Whether it’s tangible or not, there comes a point when we can’t avoid it anymore.  Arm yourself with the right tools, say a prayer for courage (I even reminded myself before the first “whack” that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me–I am that afraid of arachnids), breathe deeply, and take a whack.  Blessings!


  1. God is good! What A Blessing it all went well with moving. Be A Blessing because you’re Blessed. Mtetar

  2. Glad to hear about your successful move! Pray that God will keep unwanted critters out of your home in the same way you pray for God’s protection from evil; cover your home and family members with the blood of Jesus so no harm and evil will come near any of them.
    God bless you in your new home! ~Liz

  3. Ugh! Spiders are the one thing I am not good with. Luckily we don’t get too many big ones like the ones you mentioned but when we do the sight of one nearly makes me want to faint. I’m proud of you for taking care of it. I tired to imagine myself in your position and wasn’t sure I could have done it but like you said sometimes you can overcome your fears especially for your children’s sake. I have gotten to the point where I can take care of the small spiders since having kids. After one of the kids was still a baby and in the crawling stage and I saw a spider on the floor. It’s amazing what becoming a mother can do to your courage!

  4. I had that same fear of rats –after once having a horrible dream of being eaten by them and being noble to escape. It wasn’t much of a problem.

    Until 2 years after we bought our first house, just when the county re-did all the drains in a nearby park. Then a bunch of them moved into our house – through our dog-door. It was at the same time when we were selling the house and my husband had already started his job in another state.

    I survived. The rats did not.

    You can do it. Because those bites are nastier than the alternative.

    1. Yes, please no more bites! I can do it, but I don’t want to!!

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