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?
They bleed.
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.”
(Ephesians 1:2)
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.
They bleed.
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.


Word LoveWORDS

One of my new favorite songs is called “Words” by Hawk Nelson (with help from Bart Millard)

“They’ve made me feel like a prisoner
They’ve made me feel set free
They’ve made me feel like a criminal
Made me feel like a king
They’ve lifted my heart
To places I’ve never been
And they’ve dragged me down
Back to where I began
Words can build you up
Words can break you down
Start a fire in your heart
Or put it out”

I love it because it is so TRUE. WORDS are powerful.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14)

Luke 6:45 “…What you say flows from what is in your heart.”

Matthew 12:34 “…Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”

James 3:8 “…but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison.”

“Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.” (Prov 25:11)

“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Proverbs 15:1)

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” (Prov 12:18)

As it turns out, the Bible has quite a few words to say about our words.

One of my guilty pleasures is “reality” television. Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) and American Idol have captured my attention for several reasons.

On DWTS, Bruno captivates me.

For Idol, I am horrified by Simon.

More on them in a moment…

About the same time I started watching reality shows, I also joined my very first bible study.  Beyond knowing what Christmas and Easter were basically about, biblical ideas were all new to me.  We met Thursdays at 10 am in the church lobby and it was here I met Kelly, who I now call quotable Kelly—(QK).

Growing up poor and mostly in the Salvation Army, as a youth QK was rewarded with a case of soda for knowing her scriptures.

Because of this study and my desire to know more about Jesus, I got to know people I never would have interacted with.  These ladies were outside of my circles of friends from work or my fellow weekend warriors. There was something different about QK especially. She had a different way of speaking: her tone was low, her eyes were sincere and these effects were paired up with piercing words she spoke—not piercing like stabbing knife pain, but piercing like tiny acupuncture needles.

We were studying a book by Joanna Weaver titled, “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World.” I thought the study would be about having faith like the Virgin Mary in this “Martha Stewart” type world.  How embarrassing. I guess I should have read the actual Bible for a Bible study.  The bible story of the sisters Mary and Martha who hung out with Jesus, and who this whole book was about, was completely foreign to me. I almost quit the first day. My sister, not a biblical scholar herself, talked me out of this with her wisdom. She reminded me that God knows the heart.  It isn’t all about what you know or can recite.

Biblical ignorance aside, not a single woman in that quiet church atrium ever judged me for my lack of knowledge or judged me about anything. All those ladies helped me through the study, showed me who Jesus was through their actions, prayed for me in my marriage AND in my divorce, and cried tears along with me at my father’s passing.

At times their words would sting, but I knew they were pointing out truth and knew they were speaking it in such a way that I heard them. Like those tiny acupuncture needles, the words brought healing to my life.

Now back to Bruno and Simon.

I absolutely love watching Bruno: his over-the-top mannerisms, his accent, his sweet face, his buoyant spirit…

My reaction to watching Simon is the complete opposite: his dismissive attitude, his scowling face, his spirit dampening words… Watching the faces of those he speaks to; it pains me to watch, however; I do love his accent!

I got to wondering why my reactions to these two men are so different. If I saw Bruno, I would hug him and ask him to share coffee or lunch and just sit and watch him talk. If I saw Simon, I would avoid him like an ex-boyfriend wearing a pink Speedo.

I look at these two people who, because of their talent, experience, money, or whatever are asked to be judges. They rate people. They give them feedback, instruction, and WORDS based on certain guidelines that lead to a rating of their conclusion and determine peoples’ futures.

While watching Bruno, besides loving his accent, his enthusiasm is contagious. He gets so excited for almost every single contestant. He will slowly rise out of his chair as the intensity of his words builds, “Oh Daaah-ling…it…was…fun-taastic! You have grown so much since you started.” He waves a hand out at the dancer. Tilting his head, “Your movements were delicious and flirtatious.” Now both his hands are helping his words and he is fully out of his chair and leaning across the judges’ table, “You were sssensual and ssssexy and ssssimply stunning!”

Even when he is giving a low mark, he will say something like, “You bring carnage and mayhem in everything you do, but it’s still a two-step.”(Actual quote taken from DWTS fan website). And yet, even when he gives a low mark, his words seem to be delivered with a salve. Sometimes he makes them feel good about getting the low mark! It mystifies me.

Check out some of his “mean” quotes:

“You looked slightly grumpy more than sexy.”

“It was a bit airy-fairy at times.”

“It’s like a samba from Zombietown. But Zombietown is a hit!”

“Good bum action. You learn how to use it and there’s no stopping you.”

“I know you enjoy the lower regions, but you have to bring the fluidity on the top.”

“You look like a crazy bear lost in a swamp.”

(Quotes compiled from the Dancing with the Stars Fan website)

“Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Prov 15:4)

Simon is another case entirely. It would appear he works from a “tough love” standpoint. Simon was quoted from the show once as saying, “I met someone the other night who’s 28 years old, and he hasn’t worked a day since he left college because he’s pursuing a dream he’ll never, ever realize: He thinks he’s a great singer. Actually, he’s crap.

Here are a few more choice quotes of his: (Taken from Simon Cowell’s top 10 cut-downs by Martin Higgins)

“Your facial expressions are ugly… You are a beautiful girl but you’re ugly when you perform.”

My advice would be if you want to pursue a career in the music business, don’t.”

If you win this competition, we will have failed.”

Let me throw a mathematical dilemma at you – there’s 500 left, well how come the odds of you winning are a million to one?”

If you would be singing like this two thousand years ago, people would have stoned you.”

You take singing lessons? Do you have a lawyer? Get a lawyer and sue your teacher.”

It’s painful to watch the crushing of spirits.

I mostly watch DWTS these days and limit my exposure to Simon’s shows.

Matthew 12:36 says, “I tell you this, you must give account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.” (Matthew 12:36)

Ephesians 4:14-15 tells us, “We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ…”

I figured out why I was drawn to QK’s words, besides the truth in them: she delivered them like Bruno, with a salve for the spirit. She delivered them like Christ, with more of what we all need—love.

May you always be able to speak your truth in love.