“Behold we lay a tool here and on the morrow it is gone; and behold, our swords are taken from us in the day we have sought them for battle.” Helaman 13:34 – about 6 B.C.
I have read that scripture many times and have always found it hard to understand and comprehend. I have always assumed that it might have meant that it was stolen. I couldn’t think of another scenario where it could disappear otherwise. I have had an experience this week that has given me a new perspective on this scripture.
I returned to my “home away from home” in China the other day. I had been away for about 3 weeks and had thoroughly enjoyed the time away. I had heard that for the entire time I was gone it rained, and rained, and rained. Not that this is so unusual at this time in China, it is the rainy season.
The problem for my little home is that China the power isn’t really reliable, it goes out often and my A/C doesn’t restart when the power goes out. Sure we had people coming to the apartment occasionally and they did start the A/C but it wasn’t on as often as it would have been.
When I pulled through the apartment security gate it was obvious that the ground was still wet, the puddles had started to dry in the road but the air was still stifling with humidity. As I opened the door to the apartment it was obvious that I hadn’t had A/C running for several days. The house smelled, it was 24 C/75 F, and the humidity was 89% inside my house.
Now one of the major complaints that we have had with all of the apartments that the Expats occupy, and the local workers as well, is the mold. It is everywhere and it is never really dead. The Chinese don’t have Kilz®. It is always hiding, waiting for the conditions to return to the walls of the apartment. It is obvious that my apartment has created the ideal environment for its growth and propagation.
I quickly turned on the A/C in all rooms and threw my suitcases on the floor. I realized that the water had nearly been running into my little home through the hole in the ceiling by the window that is apparently impossible for the Chinese to patch. They have unsuccessfully attempted to patch it 3 times and I have requested that they no longer try as it just creates a mess that I have to clean up when it rains. That night’s mess is bigger than it has ever been since the first time we had it happen. Torrential rains have neatly removed the plaster from the ceiling and deposited it on my floor. It is obvious that a lot of water has been in the room and the humidity is even higher in here than the rest of the house.
It is then that I realize that there is something wrong with my boots. I wear a pair of work boots most days when I go to work so that I can go out to the construction area without having to change my shoes. This is a nice leather pair of Dr. Martins. These boots normally have a nice shine from treating them with care. I know how to make a pair of boots last and this is to not abuse the leather.
When I see them my first expression is “holy crap what happened to my boots!” I can’t even comprehend what is going on with these boots. I take them into the office and set them on the floor, I don’t even feel safe having them in the same room with me as I go to sleep.
The next morning I realize that every pair of leather shoes that I have in the house have a similar problem but my work boots are in the worst condition. I end up taking an old tooth brush to them in the sink, we don’t have a tub. After scrubbing them down and rinsing them off, I give them another good scrubbing with soap and a rinse before I am satisfied that they no longer feel violated. I head into town and attempt to find some mink oil or Neats foot oil to treat them with. Of course, there is nothing that I am accustomed to putting on my shoes so I settle for a Chinese product that has mink oil in it.
I can’t find any Lysol to spray on the insides so I have to get another Chinese product to attempt to try and sanitize the insides. While I didn’t see anything “growing” on the inside of any of the shoes, with this kind of problem on the outside it seems only logical to be better safe than sorry.
I now have another scenario that matches that described in the scripture, in an outdoor environment; it wouldn’t have taken much longer for my boots to look like the environment and to disappear, “on the morrow” it would have blended right in.
Having seen what happened to my shoes in just a short period of time in this “harsh” environment I no longer wonder why I have struggled with the crazy eye infections and other problems here in China. If that kind of stuff is just hanging around on the surfaces of my stuff in the house it would easily get into my eyes and cause all kinds of havoc.