Summer is here and opportunities for being outdoors abound. Quail season is long gone, but as any hunter knows, sometimes you still get an itch for a little gun smoke. Such was the case recently for me and my boys. With a three-day weekend in front of us we packed up nearly every firearm imaginable and headed out to the family farm with dog in tow. It was time to make some noise and kill a few tin cans.

We had been warned about taking adequate precautions against ticks, chiggers and mosquitoes, but in our haste to blow through something, we blew right past bug spray.

In no time we had the skeet shooter in place and the fun was underway. At first, we struggled to bring down the bright orange UFO-looking fowl substitutes. It wasn’t like tracking down birds, but it was still challenging. The adrenalin was high and the thought of being under attack very low.

A mound of empty shotgun shells lay at our feet as signs that satisfaction had been found. As the smoke cleared and gun barrels cooled, the itch on the back of my son’s neck reminded us that while we were pretending to be hunters we had fallen subject as prey. The blood suckers were on us.

Clothes started flying, bodies developed goose bumps and the real hunting began. Like a pack of dogs infested with fleas, we were picking and poking on each other like monkeys at the zoo. It felt like 100 or more ticks were digging in for dinner. In the end it was mostly in our heads. Our plight was nothing like the 75 or more ticks a friend removed from his body after a brief trip to the woods. We were fortunate and we knew.

The worst tick story I ever heard involved a dog and a young boy. It seems the dog had gone a few days with a tick out of reach. Swollen like a Baptist after a potluck dinner, the tick took on the appearance of a plump piece of chewing gum. What kid can resist juicy fruit? Yep, he bit into it! Not the flavor he was expecting. Needless to say his mother was a little ticked!

Summer brings out the best in blood suckers. For them it is hunting season, and we are the game. Unfortunately, blood suckers of another variety can sneak into our lives. Before we know it, we are covered in things that literally suck the life out of us.

Jesus said in Mark 6:31, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” There will always be bills to pay and projects to complete. Whatever is keeping you from breaking away will be there tomorrow. Why not take a baby step toward a little rest today? Even a mini-vacation from the little suckers that drain your life can make you more effective in the end. Jesus did it. So can you.