How To Be Calm In The Midst of Trouble and Chaos

How to keep calm and maintain perspective when things go wrong!

This was the Summer of the Wasp Infestation at the Callaway house. I waged war on four nests in our yard. During the fourth campaign, one of the critters decided to practice acupuncture on my left hand. I don’t deal with pain quietly, so I hopped in circles, yelling, “Dog biscuits!” By morning, my left hand had ballooned like a puffer fish. It looked like I was holding a puppet. I could have entertained children for hours. Sadly, I could not grip a vacuum cleaner, hold a broom, or load the dishwasher. Household chores were out. It was such a trial.

When I showed my Facebook friends a picture of my puffer fish, the cures came rapidly. Mud. Lanacaine. Antibiotics. Probiotics. Antihistamines. A cut potato. Tiger Balm. Plantain leaves. Baking soda. Liquid honey. Absorbine horse linament. Joan said, “Toothpaste works.” So I brushed my teeth eight times. It didn’t help. I told my friends I combined their remedies in a blender and applied them in a poultice. The hand was now twice the size. Some responded with good humour. Teresa said, “Sprinkle cayenne pepper in your eyes. You’ll forget the sting.” Larry said, “Find a fresh cow pie. Rub it on the affected hand. And your cheeks and neck.” I didn’t try this.

Thankfully I don’t deal with anaphylactic issues like a friend of mine. There are other things to be thankful for. Though unable to hold a mop, I could grip a golf club and an ice cream cone. Miraculous! I’m thankful it was a wasp, not a bullet ant. Bullet ants are found in Nicaragua and Paraguay. Their venom targets the central nervous system resulting in temporary paralysis. I’m thankful for friends who helped me laugh. One said, “Slice it open with your hunting knife and suck the venom out.” Another said, “I’m sorry. I got stung twice this summer. Can I stop by and drink some ice cold lemonade with you?” There’s nothing like friends who’ve been there.

Our verse of the day comes from 2 Corinthians 1: “All praise to God…the source of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” Is there someone you can comfort today? Be there for them.

My friend and I laughed over lemonade. And he gave me a helpful hint for attacking the next wasp nest: wear gloves. And I plan to. Just as soon as I can get one on over this puppet on my left hand.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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