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The bedbug evangelists and what they taught us


Matthew Petesch - published on 07/06/16

We had to throw everything out, but we're happy with out choice and would do it again

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

I don’t know much about Joseph Heller, but if he could pen these words I’m certain he was well acquainted with bed bugs.

My wife and I unknowingly opened our doors to these satanic agents about a month ago, and in short order the beasts had claimed their territory and were conducting strategic maneuvers to gain control of the whole apartment. Within a matter of days, their kingdom had been established, and my wife and I had been displaced, and with my wife seven months pregnant, this aggression could not stand!

Unable to use traditional gaseous bombs used by exterminators, we went the natural route, but our paranoia was ramped up. There was no way we were going to risk bringing bed bugs into our new apartment, so with extreme measures called for, we made the difficult decision to purge ourselves of our belongings. We threw out our mattress, couch, chair, coffee table, end tables, book shelves, anything that was wood (bed bugs like wood). Ultimately, we kept only one bookcase and our baby’s crib (which we thoroughly wiped down with rubbing alcohol). Our decision to get rid of everything wasn’t easy and might even seem drastic to some, but we’re happy with our choice and would do it again.

A by-product of all this? We’ve learned two lessons that have not only improved our quality of life but have improved our relationship with God.

  1. Some things are out of our control

When the bed bugs infiltrated our apartment there was nothing we could do. It didn’t matter that my wife and I kept a tidy home. Once they were in, they were in. The only thing left for us to do was choose how to respond. If it was left to me, I would have burned the whole house down, but my wife chose to employ the use of reason and convinced me that everything would be fine. And she was right. We’ve successfully moved into a new apartment and we’re still alive.

Although our situation appeared dire, we knew that God would help us overcome the insidious creatures that had seized control of our home, and He did. Accepting our situation was nothing less than a grace from God, and through the lens of faith we were able to assess our situation and proceed in a rational manner.

  1. We don’t need very much stuff

Getting rid of our possessions was one of the most disconcerting things I’ve done. But as I sifted through all of our belongings, separating them into keep/discard piles, I realized that we really didn’t need that much. We had been swimming in useless garbage that was cluttering our living space and our lives for far too long. I found items in closets and hidden nooks that I had completely forgotten about. They sat collecting dust and probably bed bugs, which made the decision to throw them in the trash easy. Some of our finer possessions were more difficult to discard, but as we let go, we were able to embrace an idea of simplicity, and through that freedom. Since our material purge, we have fewer clothes to clean, less furniture to dust, and more time for each other.


As it turns out, bed bugs were a blessing.  We’re less concerned with our possessions and more focused on each other, and those around us. When our son was born our priorities were in their proper place. We welcomed him into a home where possessions had no part of our priorities.

Bedbug evangelism: that’s one way to get pulled back to where Jesus said we should be:

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. – Matthew 22: 36-39

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