Around 3 am on Friday morning, a stink bug who’d been buzzing around our bedroom got suddenly quiet.

Usually I’m not horrified by the occasional stink bug that wanders into my house. As bugs go, they’re not so bad. Their bodies look like small medieval shields with tiny arms and legs, and they’re easy to outsmart since they don’t crawl very fast. A stink bug will wait patiently for you to go get a tissue or a paper towel to usher them back outside where they belong. If I have to have a bug in my house, I prefer a passive one like a stink bug or a ladybug. I didn’t even know stink bugs could fly until Friday.

Normally if there’s a bug in my room, I’ll hop out of bed, find it and take it back to the great outdoors. But since I had just returned from eight hours in the emergency room, thanks to a fall while walking my dog, (I finally gave up when I learned I had at least 3 more hours to go) I wasn’t willing to crawl out of bed for a bug. My ribs hurt. I’d deal with it in the morning.

And then I felt a twitching in my hair.



I have had unpleasant bedtime hair invasions before.

When you take off your clothes and put on your pajamas and snuggle into your bed, the holy sanctuary of your home, completely vulnerable, eyes closed, a twitch in your hair is not welcome. Neither is a chipmunk who suddenly runs across your bed and gets tangled in your hair, all because your cat brought it in when you weren’t home and forgot about it. I’m still trying to get over that.

Maybe it’s not in my hair at all. It was probably my imagination, revved up by the stressful hours spent among an odd mix of terribly sick people and strangely chatty people, wheeling themselves around the room as if we were at a cocktail party. My brain was probably still on high alert, afraid that the lady in house slippers who was high as a kite, having polite conversations with invisible people and yelling at real people was about to sit down beside me.

It twitched again.

I flicked my hand through my hair and something thwacked the floor! A fog of cilantro fumes settled over my head and pillow.

I asked myself questions. Why did the stink bug choose to visit me? And why then, while I was trying to not breathe weird, trying to keep my rib from hurting?

Falling was so dumb. But the sun had been so bright that I had to be out in it. After a week of rain and gray skies, the light almost hurt my eyes. We’d had such hard rain that the water had carried our newly sodded grass across the yard, sliding it into grass cinnamon rolls piled up by the creek.

It was my second dog walk of the day. Look at me! I’d thought. As soon as I get home, I’ll check off another WALK THE DOG block in my bullet journal. Since my retirement from my work at church, I love checking things off, being productive. I’m trying to make good use of my time, so I have blocks for all I want to do and delight in filling them in–taking walks, working out with weights, making something, writing something, studying novels, studying writing craft books…

I was so in love with the sun and the sky and my ability to take two walks in one day that I didn’t notice the uneven sidewalk in front of me. Suddenly I was flying through the air, my phone lifting out of my back pocket, the leash dropping, Rosie looking confused as I soared towards her.

This will hurt, I thought. It did.

So why had the stink bug come to me? What was he trying to do? What had he come to say? What would I say back?

“Smash him,” I told Todd from my cilantro fume cloud. “Stomp him.”

“Oh honey,” Todd said, gathering the bug onto a tissue. (I told you they wait.) “I’ll put him outside.”

I laid still on my pillow as he carried him to the window, thinking I wanted to take a shower, wash off the germs from the bug and the ER. But I hurt too much. I was too tired. I’ll shower in the morning. I can smell like taco salad for a night.

I am strong, I thought. I fell but I got back up! I’d walked home! I’d waved at a lady who wanted to pull into her driveway, who craned to take another look at me, probably because of my bleeding palms. I’ve always wished I could be more like Jesus, I laughed to myself, full of adrenaline. He wouldn’t mind the joke.

I turned over, pulling my heavy blankets, groaning over what turns out is just a bruised rib. I’ll shower tomorrow, I thought. It might even be a little bit funny by then.

And it was.