Desert Nuns

From pesky flies, O Lord, deliver us

June 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Nun News Blog


R&R for Fergus

It’s been an interesting few days here at Our Lady of Solitude with our 2 wild westies.  Last Friday morning ended up being a bit traumatic as Fergus awoke from sleep screaming in pain. Ends up, we think he strained a muscle.  (side note: he is back to 100% today).

But on Saturday night, Ferg was still on the slow road to recovery.  I slept lightly – as I was listening for him, hoping he wasn’t going to wake me up again with his cries.  Sure enough, about 11 p.m., the crying began.  But it was different.  It was more like piercing moans.  I quickly scurried down to the room where the dogs sleep.  Come to find out, Fergus was fast asleep, but now it was Percy.

Crazy Percy! with Sr. Marie St. Paul

Crazy Percy! with Sr. Marie St. Paul

Yes, Percy was all aflutter, crying, staring up at the ceiling, turning his head with short, sharp movements.  Trying to assess the situation with my sleepy mind, I couldn’t find any pain points…but he was very restless. Then I saw it.  Yes, “it”! The cause of his moaning and the source of the problem:  A fly. No, I’m not kidding.  He was irritated, I mean really put out by this fly.  I thought to myself, “Surely, that can’t be the problem.”

But as it flew from here to there, he watched it with a hawk’s eye.  And then it landed on his face.  Oh, the horror!  As I stood there, all sorts of things ran through my mind, but the remaining impression was: “You’ve got to be kidding me.”  I soon became Percy’s hero, though, as I  said goodbye to Br. Fly.

I tried to explain to Percy (yes, I  try to reason with the dogs, but it never really works!) that we live near dairy farm and flies are just part of life here.  And that he better get used to them.  I told him that they annoy me too, but that we can’t wake up the whole house when one happens to get into our room.  But, to be honest, Percy didn’t really care.  He jubilantly and quickly returned to his bed, tail wagging, happy that he could sleep in fly-less peace.

So I went back to bed too, thinking: “You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

Next morning, I woke up with the same thought: “You’ve gotta be kidding me.  Did the dog really wake me up so that I would come and kill a fly.”

Then some light broke into my thought process, as suddenly I could relate to Percy!  I realized, on a natural level *and a supernatural level* I do the same thing.  When a fly – whether it’s the fly of distraction, the fly of temptation, the fly of discomfort, the fly of irritation, or a real live pesky fly – comes into my realm, I have one thought: the fly, the fly, the fly!  It lands on me and, with much agitation, I swat at it.  I begin to stalk it mercilessly.  Kill the fly.  Kill the fly.  Kill the fly.  Any notion of purification, reparation, or loving surrender is thrown out the window.  Kill the fly.  Kill the fly.  Kill the fly.  I watch “it”.  I observe “it”.  I can’t rest as long as “it” is bothering me.


Here “it” is!

Sometimes there are scorpions and snakes, but mostly life’s journey is just wrought with flies, huh?  Sometimes little flies, other times horse flies.  But always flies, flies, flies.  Like Percy, sometimes we try to kill the flies with a quick snap of the old teeth, but alas – unless we are the Karate Kid – killing a fly isn’t always so easy.

And then, like poor desperate (and slightly neurotic) Percy, at last we cry out.  Perhaps our cry is not so different from the piercing moan that came trembling out of our little white fur ball.

“I can’t do this alone!  Father, come to my aid.”  Come kill this fly of temptation, this fly of distraction, this fly of discomfort!”

And we realize, in the midst of the frenzy, that in our mad pursuit of the fly, we forgot our Father!  Ah, then we can experience the full force of our helplessness and  the full force of the Father’s loving care.  It is a care that is attentive both to great and small – snakes and flies, intense sufferings and little pin pricks.

Unlike my reaction to Percy, the Lord does not say: “You’ve gotta be kidding me.  Did you really wake me up to kill a fly?”  For our Father never sleeps, nor is He ever far from us.  He is ever utterly near.  He is ever utterly caring.  He is ever utterly protecting.  He is waiting for us to say: “My Father, I can’t handle this alone, even this little thing…I can’t seem to do this without Your help, Your strength, Your grace.”  He permits the flies, and through them, He allows us to both experience our weakness and our need for Him.  And, when we realize His Love, well…He becomes our Hero.  But more than a hero, He becomes our Savior.

(As a footnote: even St. Francis was not a huge fan of flies.  He once said that the fly was idle and ate the fruit of other creatures’ labor!  Perhaps, here in fly-laden Tonopah, we ought to invoke his intercession!  Smile, smile)

Enter the Conversation...

6 Responses to “From pesky flies, O Lord, deliver us”
  1. Tommc says:

    fly paper, it is the kind of thing your troubles (or Percy’s) can get stuck on…
    I love you eh, girls…

  2. Peggy Lindenthaler says:

    Sister, why not try those littlesticky fly traps that you can hang around the monastery, especially where your dear little Westies sleep? If you can’t get them, I would certainly offer to buy you some and send them to you. No problem. I too am not fond of flies, but I’m very fond of getting rid of them, lol.

    Sincerely in Christ,


  3. Aunt Robin says:

    A perfect analogy. Thanks for making it so simple.

    Hope you are all well I think about you often. I see from the news letter that your mission continues to grow.

  4. Lisa & Shadow says:

    Thanks, Shadow & I really needed to hear that. You guys are awesome as always. And please, give Fergus & Percy hugs from Shadow & I, the little cuties.

  5. christine hewlett haden says:

    Good morning Sisters…..I have a quick, fool proof and rather inexpensive remedy for those pesky little fly creaters: fabric softener dryer sheets!!!

    indeed….tuck a dryer sheet where the cute little devils seem to be the most annoying and like magic they will migrate elsewhere! tuck one near the doggies beds, up your sleeve as you work about the landscaping…..make a pretty ball (like a Christmas ornament) and hang about the kitchen or dining areas….be creative!

    My own sister swears by this method….even the unscented dryer sheets do the trick. She always pins one to her shirt or shorts when doing yard work and the flies vanish! You may need to get creative as there are dairy farms about and flies are plentiful in such environments, yet the sheets repel and therefore the need to swap the incessant tickle monsters no longer exists!

    give it a try….let me know of your outcomes.
    God Bless one and all,

  6. Dolores De Kroon says:

    JMJT Tu7.16.13,5:01a Happy Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel!

    ‘Stumbled upon your website. You guys, er, um, nuns are indeed watered and enclosed gardens for the Lord in that Arizona heat and nearby dairy farm and heroes, er, uh, heroines for all of us. You will, one and all and everyone connected, be especially included in our Novena for this great feast at the nearby Carmelite monastery. God bless.

    Love and prayers,

    Pete and Dolores

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