When Chad was still in law school, we lived in a cute little rent house in Lubbock across from some drug dealers. The front yard was covered in huge rose bushes, and the sweet little place was painted peach with brown trim. I loved it. It had a big back room where we stayed all the time, nasty old couches left there by some college kids, I’m sure, indoor/outdoor carpet, and cardboard-ish wood paneling covering the walls. We sat back there and watched a tiny television or got on the computer. In that room Chad and I giggled over the pink lines on my pregnancy test the day we learned that Adelade existed. We did a lot of laughing and talking and just being very newly married kids in that room.
One night while Chad was at school studying I was sitting at the computer, looking at whatever was on the internet back then. I was totally relaxed, back there in my cozy favorite room, and then I looked down at my own hand which was resting on the mouse, and there, right beside the computer mouse, stood an actual mouse, on its hind legs, looking as if he had an important message from the king of the rats. Naturally, I jumped and ran to the other side of the house and called my dad crying.
After he assured me that the mouse was not going to attack me or jump down my shirt or run up my pants leg, I hung up the phone and tiptoed back to my favorite room, now ruined by the presence of an unwelcome furry intruder. Of course, the mouse was nowhere to be found.
Immediately I ran out and bought ten different types of mouse traps and set them all over the house. I baited them with cheese, peanut butter, and who knows what else, just hoping beyond hope that I could catch that fuzzy little menace and all of his brothers and sisters. Every day after work I checked the traps, and every day, nothing. So, I went to bed every night worried that he or his comrades were going to crawl on me while I slept and build nests in my hair.
One day I finally came home to find that the traps had worked. I had caught my mouse. And, there in the trap, he looked sort of cute and kind of soft and sweet. But, then I remembered his creepy two-legged stance on my desk, and I felt pleased that I could once again sit at the desk without constantly being distracted by my fears that he would once again want to chat.
So, imagine my surprise, 13 years later, when I found myself carrying a cage into my house that contained not one, but two mice that looked amazingly like the one I had encountered in my favorite room in a rent house in Lubbock. Our incredible Wednesday night teachers at church had brought some mice to church for the children to enjoy, calling them the “Church Mice.” The teachers sweetly told the kids that the Church Mice could come home with them any time for a “vacation.” Well, Adelade is the biggest animal lover I’ve ever known, and when that offer was extended she just wasn’t going to let it go. Thus, Sally and Curly came to spend the weekend in our house.
In the cage, they were pretty darn cute. They were fuzzy and adorable with their tiny eyes and their pointy noses. They did funny things and made us laugh, and I was actually okay with them being in our house–while they were caged. But, Adelade just wasn’t happy with that. The super cool teachers had also bought these clear plastic balls that you could put the mice in to let them run around. And, Adelade LOVED putting Sally in the ball and walking around the house with her.
So, when this happened I started getting a little out of my area of comfort. I started feeling that familiar uneasiness that comes with the fear that a rodent is going to wind up jumping on you somehow. And, then I helped her get Sally out of the cage by removing a part of the wheel that the mice loved to run in.
And Curly escaped.
And I panicked. I started begging my nine year old to please, please, pleeeeaaase find the mouse and catch it and put it back in its nice secure cage before I ended up finding him entangled in my hair one morning. We looked all over the counter where the cage was sitting, all over the floor in the room, and the mouse was nowhere to be found.
I was seriously fighting the urge to climb on a chair and scream until the fire department or some other official organization showed up to rescue me from this “cute” baby mouse. And then, like a miracle from God Himself, I looked down, and there stood Curly, standing on his hind legs just like the ill-fated mouse so many years ago, obviously trying to tell me an important piece of information that the mouse society is privy to, and which would probably change the course of human events.
But, I didn’t even care. I just wanted the beady eyed little creature back behind a wall of plastic that he would never be able to gnaw through.
Somehow, Adelade moved with lightening speed and grabbed the mouse. She lovingly deposited the little fellow in his cage. Little mouse, whom I would’ve easily trapped rather mercilessly in ten kinds of mouse traps if only I had discovered him in a closet instead of in the cage of a fantastic teacher from our church.
The moral of this rather long story is fairly simple. Before I belonged to God, I was a lot like that first mouse: in trouble, doomed, dead mouse walking, destined to wind up in the trap of my own sin and guilt and failure. But, when I became His child, I could rest in His hand, kept safe by His love, gently placed in His protective grip forever. Maybe that’s the real message the two mice were trying to tell me.
Or maybe they have secret knowledge about a government cover-up. Either way, I’m really kinda glad that neither one is still in my house. May you have a mouse-free day, and should you happen to see one heading for your pants leg, I would suggest climbing on a chair and yelling for the authorities.
But, that’s just me.