For months I have been telling Mike that my heart would stop if I saw one of the typical large Guatemalan spiders. Snakes are fine. Mice don't cause me serious trauma. But spiders...that's another story. Thankfully, we don't have spiders in our apartment, so I don't have anxious, circular thinking regarding them. Or at least I didn't until today.
We arrived at church about five minutes before the meeting started, and seated ourselves on a bench along the side of the chapel to allow others room beside us. A young couple came and sat beside us, which was comfortable-four people on a smallish bench. Then, before long, three more people squeezed in and I was smooshed against the wall having to turn a little sideways to make room for them. Our chapel is always filled for sacrament meeting.
As the last speaker stood to talk, my eye caught the chair rail that ran along the wall about the height of the top of the bench. Without any regard for the appropriateness of using the term in church, I blurted out, "Oh crap!" as I spotted spider legs well over an inch long protruding from under the chair rail just next to me. The benches are not stationery and ours was about as close as it could get to the next one, so there was no escape with six people to climb over if he crawled out from his hiding place.
I clearly didn't have enough faith to help me in this situation, as I was shaking like a leaf. I couldn't stand to look at him out of fear he would move quickly and I couldn't stand not to look at him out of fear he would already have moved quickly onto me or into my large purse on the floor. Mike stared at him for about twenty minutes, preparing to save me if needed. Finally the closing song came and Mike quickly moved to the other side of me.
It was chilly today, but not enough to justify the shaking I experienced afterward and all through Sunday School. We left before our final meeting, as I couldn't calm down. The sunshine didn't help the shuddering, nor did trying to identify whether it was a huge recluse spider. The venom of a recluse would be life threatening, but so is being terrified to the point that you have a coronary occlusion. I may measure the rest of my mission by the number of large spider encounters I have.