I saw the first scorpion one night as I walked back to the house after feeding the chickens. It was making its way toward the back door like a solitary soldier. I studied it for a moment, my heart racing as I realized that it was indeed a scorpion. Then I rushed to the door and called to my husband to bring the bug spray, quick!
I sprayed the scorpion with half the can, and my husband and I watched until we were certain it was dead. Not knowing if dead scorpions, like dead bees, could still sting, my husband scooped it into a plastic cup, placed another cup inside that one and tossed it deep into the recesses of a trash bag.
I was shaken--the safety of my home had been violated by this threat to my family. But it didn't take long before I rationalized that the scorpion had been outside, a natural place to find scorpions, and I stopped worrying about it so much.
We disturbed the second scorpion when we decided to clean out the garage. My husband was away helping his father, so all of the children came out to help. Or get in the way. I was working in the back corner, near one of the blind-covered windows when my two year old began pulling and shaking the blinds. Dust and decomposing insect bodies flew from underneath. I told him to stop, but he continued flapping the blinds against the window. One of his older brothers joined him, intrigued by the dead bugs.
Setting the broom down, I marched over to where they were just in time to see a scorpion appear on the window sill, right next to my toddler's hand. I snatched him away, shoving my other son back at the same time. I ordered my teenager to keep everyone out of the corner and sent one of my daughters in for the spray.
Not as brave as my husband, I left the body in the corner where I killed it, waiting for him to come home and dispose of the still twitching bug.
Deeply troubled, I did some searching on the Internet, and determined from the pictures I found that the scorpions I had seen were bark scorpions--the only Arizona scorpion that posed any danger. Yet again, I rationalized that the bug-infested, dirty garage was an invitation to scorpions. Now that it was cleaned, maybe we wouldn't see anymore.
Nearly a month went by without anymore scorpion sightings. Until one day my eleven-year old son came screaming up the stairs. He'd discovered a scorpion, trapped in a bag hanging from his bed. My husband and I, armed with the bug spray, hurried down to dispose of it. It was smaller than the other ones we had seen, but it was still a scorpion.
Again, I was panicked. This one had been inside the house. In my son's room. We sat as a family, talking about the scorpion and how they like to hide in dark places and that a dirty room is a perfect place for them to live. We also talked about how small of a space they needed to get into the house. By the time we finished we had determined that the scorpion had come in through my son's window and made sure he didn't open it anymore. Problem solved.
Last night, two weeks after we found the scorpion in the bedroom, my family gathered as we do every night in our living room to read scriptures and pray together. We discussed a few verses in Matthew about service then we all retired to our knees for prayer. As we were passing out hugs and kisses and preparing to send our children to bed, my nine year old daughter shouted, "Scorpion!" and I saw the critter crawling across the floor toward my husband and toddler.
I pulled my son out of the way, shouting to my husband and pointing at the invader as he moved swiftly forward. My sixteen year old jumped the back of the couch like it was nothing and cowered behind it. Someone grabbed the bug killer, and my husband sprayed it, then smashed it.
We could not rationalize away the presence of the scorpion in our living room--an area of high traffic and activity. Now we jump at every movement, imagined or real, expecting to see another scorpion. The exterminator will be here soon, but it will be a long time before we feel completely safe in our own home again.
And I wonder, if we had acting on the first sighting, would our other unpleasant, closer encounters have been avoided?
So it is with the wickedness that the Lord warns us to avoid. If we tolerate it, rationalize that it is part of the natural world and as long as it doesn't invade our sanctuary, it cannot harm us, then the evil will move closer and closer, until it is dangerously close to our families and our safety. Best to protect ourselves and our families before it becomes a threat.