Definition from Wikipedia
Drosophilidae is a diverse, cosmopolitan family of flies which includes fruit flies. Wikipedia goes on to say “Generally, drosophilids are considered nuisance flies rather than pests, since most species breed in rotting material.”
Nuisance??!!! Really?? My definition: ANNOYING; a tiny little thing that makes just enough noise in your ear to drive you mad. This miniscule monster that begins with trying to share my AGATE RIDGE Primitivo and ends up diving straight into the glass and staying for the rest of its life! (For the non-wine enthusiast—Agate Ridge Primitivo is precious fluid masterfully crafted by winemaker Kimberly Kinderman.)
My first experience with the season of the fruit fly in Oregon was last summer. I actually went a little crazy. Okay, a lot crazy. I was on a mission to exterminate every single one of those damned drosophilids!
Like the itch of a mosquito bite, the more I tried to deal with this “nuisance” directly, the more it flared up. Squish after squash, after slap, after squish; on the walls, on the mirrors, on my jeans, dipped out of my wine… (Grrrr!)
Here’s what I didn’t know about these tiny annoyances: First—my efforts were futile. I thought it would be worth it to mount an attack—I didn’t want to share my Primitivo with anyone, let alone this little booger that insisted on plunging right in! They were so tiny and just slow enough for me to be able to attack, but there were way more than I could see. They were insipient, insidious and I was incapable of mounting a successful massacre. The other troubling thing I learned is– they bleed. As I snuck up on their unsuspecting little bodies and squashed them against the white wall with a business card, I was stunned to see the evidence of my kill. Red blood smeared on the card and the wall.
I had a Macbeth moment.
I tried other ways to redirect them out of my glass of aromatic, tasty, ruby-colored loveliness. I lured them with several mostly empty bottles filled with enough sweetness left in the bottom to trap them and relocate them. This was a bit more successful in terms of numbers and in the GUILT arena (no blood!)
I later learned these tiny annoyances are a fact of life in fruit bearing regions. Visiting wineries, restaurants and anything outdoor in the right season, you will be faced with these pests. Pretty harmless really. Their life span is extremely temporary (especially since they can’t swim!) and, when the season changes, the fruit fly frenzy is finished.
Do you have any fruit flies in your life? Those people that are tiny annoyances? That, when you try to rid of them in your life, there are 8,000 more to take their place? Mooches, thieves, clanging symbols in your ear, pests, and all around thorns in your side? Guess what?
I tried to understand the feeling I experienced when I saw the blood on the wall and the card I used in my massacre of the 2012 fruit fly invasion. It struck a chord with me about humanity. Those “fruit fly people” that deserve your attention and kindness the least, but need it the most. Those people who seem to serve no purpose, but will bleed just like the rest of us when wounded and hurting. Those people who, though you wouldn’t want to share a glass of wine with, just need some redirecting. Those people who may spend a season in your life, enjoy some sweetness, and then run their course or path in a new location.
“Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”
Maybe you don’t have a “fruit fly” in your life but someone who is just downright mean. Nasty words seep from their mouths, uttering only pain inflicting daggers that wound and scar on a soul level.
Some of your “fruit flies” might even be family members.
What is it about the wounds that travel with us from childhood?
We spend most of our adulthood trying to recover from them.
My father was a sensitive man. However he had wounds from his childhood he brought along to our family. His upbringing consisted of a father mostly absent and a mother taken too soon. He and his four siblings had to be resourcefully resilient and hardened themselves to survive. He hid behind sarcasm and critical words that wounded both my sister and me, yet which had very different effects on us.
We both loved him in spite of the words and wounds; he was our father. It was his terminal cancer diagnosis that drove us to a deeper relationship and made us attempt to overcome those wounds while he was still with us. It sort of worked. Some scars we still deal with, but God has such an amazing way of working good out of these wounds. He is the Master at bringing light into the dark places.
I will never forget the day my father got out of an eight hour brain surgery that successfully removed a massive tumor and bought him more time with us. I traveled from Arizona to Colorado to be there with him. I was available to help him with anything he needed and I prayed for him with all my heart and soul. He awoke from the surgery looking like he just awoke from a nap (just wearing a gauze turban!) His main request was for me to bring him his mail. So I did.
As I tried to help him open the envelopes, he snapped at me, “Didn’t you ever learn to do this the right way!?”
I blew it off at first. Who cares how you open an envelope? As long as you get the mail out–Right?
He snapped it out of my hands and followed his sharp words with a detailed instruction of properly using that little slidey thingy with a razor sharp edge to slice the edges without slaughtering the mail.
Sounds silly, right?
Not to a daughter that inherited an overly sensitive heart and desire to please an unpleasable parent. Later, as I left the hospital choking back tears, I tried to think of my sister. She would have laughed it off. Her years of being the first to bear the brunt of his words delivered to her a tougher skin. God knew she would need it. He knew my sister’s future dreams of attaining success in a male dominated field. He knew the superhuman strength she would need to raise up two sons in a fallen world.
But that wasn’t me. I cried the rest of the day. I might be able to blame it on hormones or stress, but my lip still quivers at memories of all the imperfections he could easily point out. His words had the effect of making me more in tune to why he lashed out and making me keenly aware of those who do this same thing.
It was the most recent Women of Faith tour and Sheila Walsh’s healing testimony that penetrated the scar tissue of this old wound in me and brought understanding and peace. –Her father has suffered a stroke and brain injury when she was a small child. It brought out in her father nearly complete paralysis and a murderous attitude toward her–an innocent child who had been his favorite, precious and dearly loved daughter.
It was years later that a neurosurgeon explained to her the exact effects of these deteriorations in that area of his brain that had been damaged in the stroke—This is not a direct quote but my remembrance of the events she told–Basically, because of the location of the damage, it would distort the personality by 180 degrees. The misperception of the brain would bring out a nastiness that could only be acted out toward someone that person knew would always forgive them and always love them regardless.
They say love and hate are very close—Her father acted out toward her somehow knowing she would always love him; always forgive him.
I totally get this. I see it time and time again even without brain trauma! We often act in ways to our families that we wouldn’t think of acting toward anyone else. We often treat them in less than loving ways because we know they will put up with us! Our families are stuck with us.
My father knew I would always love him.
His childhood created these tendencies in my father and his brain cancer and surgery heightened the critical words, sarcasm and detailed direction on how to do everything right. My sister was the target during our childhood; it would appear it was my turn. I further developed a profound understanding of hurting people and the ability to forgive.
Often those who least deserve love, are in deepest desperation for it.
Our time here is short. Not like the fruit fly short, but truly just a blip in the grand plan of life. So, the next time there is an annoying person buzzing in your ear, soaking up some of your glass of life’s finest, wounding you with words, overstaying their welcome in your world or tempting you to react in a crazy way; just remember this: they bleed too. You never know what’s going on behind the exterior they show the world. And the little bit of sweetness you share with them, might just possibly be their last.