The fact that I tremble at the sight of large spiders, with no glass shielding between us, should come as no surprise to my faithful readers. Wolf spiders offend me most frequently as they appear in my basement with regularity. The following event made me somewhat thankful for the wolf spiders that dwell in our home.
The extent of my encounter stems back to my high school days. As freshmen in high school my classmates and I were assigned research projects on the science topic of choice. I chose to research spiders, not for my love of them, but for a hope that an education of them would help my fears subside.
In this research I learned that the large spiders my siblings and I had encountered in our home, from time to time, were wolf spiders. These spiders, though ugly and intimidating, were not deadly by my understanding. The two poisonous spiders that remain highlighted in my brain, to watch out for, were the black widow spider and the brown recluse spider.
I had often seen black widows growing up, mostly ones my father would capture to show us kids. They were easily identified with their round, shiny, black bodies and red hour glass marking. The brown recluse on the other hand struck the fear of the unknown in my heart. The pictures and descriptions seemed unclear. The fact they liked to hide in towels helped me form the habit of shaking my towel before drying off after every shower. After several misidentifications I assured myself that these dangerous little creatures rarely resided in this area and thus calmed down.
That brings us to the present or the evening of July 4th to be specific. Our family of seven had come to a friend’s home to fellowship in the midst of a two week road trip. My feet had been horribly soiled from sinking in mud at a camp a few hours before this. It was after midnight when the adults stopped talking and headed to bed. I decided to wash my feet in the tub. At the moment I stuck my foot into the bathtub and saw a unfamiliar brown arachnid scamper across the tub I feared that my first encounter with a brown recluse had been recognized. I darted away from the tub in an instant. I grabbed the bathroom door to exit in hopes of finding my hostess. As I gripped the doorknob and attempted to jerk the door open another obstacle between me and peace lay in the fact the door sticks.. In a panic I attempted to lock and unlock the knob and turn it in every direction. I finally resorted to screaming for my friend who told me later that she knew something must have been wrong if I was screaming without thought of the sleeping children. She rescued me by killing and disposing of my focus of fear. She also confirmed my suspicion that it was indeed a brown recluse spider.
It would not be honest to say that I found slumber quickly and sweetly after this incident. I was able to pray and trust that the Creator of all things would protect my family and I from being bitten. I am now thankful that as scary as those large wolf spiders, in my home, can be that they are not brown recluse.