The room smelled musty of old smoke. The roach scampering up the wall gave me the heebie-geebies. Tiny black bugs crawled across the pillows on both beds. I quickly zipped my suitcase to keep out any errant bug that might want to travel home with me.
You might think I’m describing a room from a mission trip in a third world country.
Well, I was on a mission and I was on a trip but I wasn’t on a mission trip.
Nope. I was in a hotel room in Daytona Beach owned by a popular hotel chain. A room in which my two friends and I had the most unfortunate opportunity to spend one” buggy” night.
Our trip: The sold out Beth Moore women’s conference in Daytona Beach, Fl.
Our mission: Rest for our weary bodies and a good night sleep following the Friday night session. The conference started again early Saturday morning.
By the time we arrived at our hotel it was late, really late. Midnight to be exact and we were exhausted. Extremely exhausted. You know how it is when you’re so tired your eyes sting? There was some stinging going on.
The rest of our church ladies were staying at another hotel owned by the same company. We actually were suppose to stay there but a few weeks before the conference a nice lady from the hotel called
and said there had been a computer glitch. Hmm…. They accidentally overbooked their rooms and we would have to go…to another hotel.
They agreed to make the switch for us and assured us everything would be the same. Same brand of hotel. Same type of room. Same price. Same breakfast included. Same same.
Shame, shame it was not the same.
Upon arrival we discovered additional roommates that we didn’t invite. They were of the creepy crawly variety.
We tried to change rooms but there was “no room in the Inn” or in the city for that matter. Nowhere else to go.
Now emotions take on a whole new level of exaggeration when it’s late and you’re tired. Everything does for that matter. Have you ever noticed if you have a cold you’re stuffier at night? If you have a
fever, it’s higher. If you’re lonely, you’re lonelier at night. If you’re sad your sadness is magnified. No wonder the Bible equates the darkness with evil.
So being late our nerves were on heightened alert. Anxiety started to swell in us like an ocean tide rising during a full moon.
Every sort of wild thought ran through my mind. My fear grew exponentially.
All three of us, frightened of what other bugs might be lurking about, started flipping mattresses to see if there were bedbugs. It didn’t occur to us that we didn’t know what they looked like. But all the
segments on bed bugs from the popular show 60 Minutes were now swirling around in my head.
More questions…. what if the bugs on the pillows were lice? Were they just waiting for us to fall asleep in order to make a meal of us?
Now our mission took on a whole new priority….. protection!
We requested clean sheets from Housekeeping. We changed out the buggy pillowcases. Not changing the old sheets we covered them with clean ones. We put on socks. I kept my robe on to sleep as if to give myself an added barrier between me and those pesky predators.
Protected as humanly possible we sandwiched ourselves between the clean sheets and tried to sleep.
I don’t know about the other girls but my imagination continued to churn out bugs. Every few minutes I scratched or slapped whatever I felt was crawling down my legs and up my arms until I finally passed out.
Joy really does come with the morning. We survived the night and the hotel debacle. Happy to leave we drove away unscathed.
A couple of days later I was reading in Psalms and came across this verse, ” In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone make me dwell in safety”.
“Ah it’s you, ” I thought. “You alone Lord kept us safe.”
I imagined God having a good laugh at His silly children peering underneath the mattresses all the while saying, “Oh my dear ones, all this wasted fretting; wrapping yourself in sheets, extra socks and
robes. Those things are not protecting you. I Am. I’m all you’ll ever need.”
Tender words of comfort, assurance and protection.
I wrote the scripture out three times. Twice on 3×5 cards, one to keep in my suitcase and one to put by my bedside table.
The third I wrote on my heart.
I’m sure there will be other nights when sleep won’t come easy. But for those nights I’ll be prepared with this verse on my heart and a prayer on my tongue.
Keeping this scripture in mind I’ll always carry the remembrance of a “buggy” night with girlfriends that gave all new meaning to the old phrase, “sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”!
And I’m still joying in the journey.