When You Catch A Rat

Well, I can’t walk into my kitchen.  I’m currently trapped in the rest of the house for the next two hours, until I bring the boys home from school.

Can you say you are trapped when you are only restricted from one room?  And when you are self-restricted?

I cannot enter my kitchen because a mouse (aka rat if you are Ugandan, but it is a little one this time, so I call it a mouse) is caught on one of those sticky traps on the floor.

Yesterday I was confronted with the reality behind my.  Behind my container stocked with corn tortillas (by the way, if you ever want to make me really happy, send me corn tortillas I can fry into chips), was a layer of oatmeal mixed with mouse droppings, spread out on the shelf.

So I went rat trap shopping.  The snap and kill ‘em kind are not readily available in Ugandan supermarkets, so I had to go with the sticky traps.


Ok, who invented these horrific contraptions?  I mean, gross. Ok, I get it.  They take away the need for the varmint to actually be attracted to the bait and whatnot.  All you have to do is put the trap somewhere you know the nasty little thing will likely run.

But then what?  The animal is stuck.  ALIVE! Sometimes they try to move and they are flopping around.  Sometimes you hear their little squeaky voices as they struggle. My shoulders are curling as I type these disgusting descriptions.  Sick.

Here I sit, with my back to the kitchen.  I’m about to turn on some music so I don’t have to hear anything that may or may not be happening behind me.

I certainly can’t do anything about it.  I’m not about to walk into that kitchen, bend down to pick up the sticky trap, and carry the thing somewhere, all while hoping the mouse doesn’t try to move.  Oh my gosh, I can’t even finish describing what I can’t do.

I have to wait.

Once upon a time, when I came home for a break between college semesters, we experienced a mouse problem at my parents’ house.  My closet, in particular, was a favorite residence for the tiny creatures. We set traps with peanut butter as bait. (By the way, peanut butter is way too precious and expensive in my current living circumstances to sacrifice as rat bait these days.)  The traps succeeded in catching (and killing) the little beasts. When I realized the traps did their jobs, I asked my dad to take care of them for me.

He refused.

What are you going to do when you live on your own and you catch a mouse? he asked.

Call a neighbor to save the day, was my obvious reply.

We both stubbornly maintained our positions regarding the situation at hand; meanwhile, my mother—God bless her brave soul—took care of the mouse problem.

Well, every mouse (rat, frog, lizard, etc.) problem I’ve encountered since moving out of my dad’s house (or should I say mom’s?) has indeed led to me calling someone to come rescue me after screaming didn’t seem to resolve anything.

Until two little boys moved into my life and my home, that is.

Now I rarely need to call someone to rescue me.  I just have to wait until the boys get home, or wake up, or whatever.

The first time I had them take care of a rat stuck to a trap while I hid in another room, they were a bit scared too.  I talked them through the process while confining myself to my bedroom, cautiously asking them if they had finished yet.

Yesterday evening, the trap I’d set while they were at school proved to be effective.  By now the twins have saved me so many times, they didn’t think twice about the need to dispose of the intruder while I cowered at the end of the hallway.

After the deed was done, I created a false hope within me and decided I didn’t need to set up either of the two extra traps I’d purchased.  But this morning the boys told me they heard another one in the kitchen while they ate breakfast. I reluctantly set another trap. I mean, I wanted to catch the annoying little thing, but I didn’t want to risk catching it early in the day and having to endure the consequences all day long.

Now here I am, unable to get a snack or fill my water bottle because the last time I attempted such a thing, I caught a glimpse of my latest victim.  I won’t be bringing an afternoon snack in the van with me when I pick up the children today!

I can’t explain why it is so disgusting, exactly.  But it just is. I mean, you get it, right?

As I’m sitting here, completely grossed out, and waiting for my shoulder-high saviors, I began reflecting.  That’s right, a mouse is giving me deep revelations. Good for something…I guess.

I know we generally see fear, being stuck, feeling overwhelmed, etc. as negative things.  Usually we tell people to stand up to those fears. To move forward. To push aside the crippling feelings.

But maybe sometimes we shouldn’t.

Maybe sometimes we should take those moments when the situation seems bigger than we can handle, and just wait.  Wait for our Savior to step in. Or maybe I should say, have patience to see how He is at work. Maybe we need to prayerfully wait to see how God will bring us through the seemingly impossible situation.

Many times our reaction at such times is to do our best to solve the problem.  Then we usually come up defeated when our best efforts come up empty.

Perhaps our reaction shouldn’t be to try all we can, and then turn to God if we are not successful, but rather to wait it out.  Know we cannot handle it on our own, and patiently, prayerfully wait. I don’t mean that we do nothing. I mean on occasion we should recognize our inability and rest in God’s ability.

Waiting to have the boys come home and take care of my little problem is not exactly easy for me right now.  I’m squirming, shuddering even. But I know I have to wait. I am not one of those valiant women who can march in there, pick it up, and throw it out.  Nor do I ever intend on becoming one. And I am totally ok with that. (I mean, aside from my current state of discomfort.)

I wish I was more like that when it comes to the more serious problems in my life.  I wish I was better at waiting. I have two basic extremes most of the time. Either I attack the problem head-on without consultation of people or God, or I become paralyzed and do nothing, foolishly hoping the problem will disappear on its own.  Rarely does either method work out to my advantage. What I need to do is sit down in another room, and wait for God’s intervention. Seek His face through prayer and His Word. I can’t expect Him to always enter in, like a knight in shining armor ready to take the unbearable circumstances out to the trash.  I know sometimes He will require me to be involved in the solution. But I think it would all go better if my first reaction was waiting on Him, calling out for help, and listening for His familiar voice.

God, I know difficult circumstances are going to continue to come up in my life.  Sometimes I can anticipate them, and sometimes they catch me off guard. However they come, however challenging they are, help me to wait on you.  Help me to patiently trust you to intervene. Give me wisdom in what to do or not do, what to say or not say. Help me to rely on your presence in my life.



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