It all began one quiet March evening, just after getting back from a weeklong family trip for spring break. I had just drifted off into peaceful slumber when WHOOSH, SCRAMBLE, WISH, SHOO…it sounded like a party was going on in the laundry room, which was immediately next to my bedroom. Something was in the plastic-lined trash can, and since the dog and cat were still at the kennel, I knew it must be some nasty little intruder.
Until this time, mice had been such a faraway tale. Unlike here in rural Arkansas, in Arizona it was not common to have mice invade your house. Scorpions and spiders, yes, but mice? To me, mice were this strange creature that killed people merely by pooping. All I knew about them was that, as kids, we weren’t allowed to go into the play shed until a parent had checked, because there might be mouse poop in there that would kill you just by being in its presence. Scary, I know. But I had never seen a mouse in our house or shed, let alone a mouse poop, so I was safe, or so I thought…
Something inside me told me that whatever was having a party in that laundry room, it probably crawled on four legs and had a icky looking tail. And it probably had the deadly poop! I quickly thought about what to do. Every other family member lived upstairs. I tried calling for help, but everyone was too zonked from the trip to hear me. I thought about getting out of bed and running upstairs, but I was afraid I might step on one of the creatures in the dark. Or worse…what if they come after me?! So, I did what any self-respecting teenage girl would do; I picked up my cell phone and called my mother’s cell phone number. Needless to say, she was not too happy about the rude intrusion to her sleep. To make matters worse, when my dad went in, there was no sign of mice anywhere, so we went back to bed.
The next morning they discovered that I was not making up the party in the laundry room from the night before…there in the, all over the laundry room, were the dreaded mouse poops!
So, from the first, the mice were my enemy. It didn’t really help that dad tried to show me how the eyes of a trapped mouse bug out, or that my mom was deathly afraid of them. One time I was awakened at 6:00 in the morning with a dreadful scream and “Tres…TRES! There’s a MOUSE!” in a voice I have never before heard my mother use. Needless to say, I hated them. But beware when you hate something…God often uses that very think to help you grow.
Little did I know that a few years later I would be walking into the new little house that Andy had chosen to rent for our home after we got married, and find the dreaded mouse poops on the counter and in some of the cabinets. I rather ungraciously scolded Andy for leaving trash on the counter (like the mice can’t get in a trash can just as easily). Andy was upset that I’d made such a big deal about it, and I scolded myself for already failing to always show him respect…and we weren’t even married yet! What can I say? Mice bring out the worst in me!
Once we were married, we had more mouse invaders. We plugged up every hole we could find with steel wool, trapped as many of them as dared enter, and did everything possible to get rid of them. They became a rare visitor into our home…except for a few times when we were on vacation and they had some parties on the counters and in my drawers.
Then one day we bought a dear little home of our own, which had been uninhabited for quite awhile…at least by humans. The very first night we moved in, we were getting ready for bed when I saw a shadowy figure running along the wall toward my bed. EEEK! The next day I found the mouse poops all over my makeshift “pantry” in the kitchen, and even found two stuck in my beautiful big bathtub with jets. DISGUSTING! Finally, my dear husband, who said we would never EVER have a cat, has given in and let me get a little kitten. Hopefully that will help some.
So what is the moral to this terrible story about a girl and some mice? God will often use the thing you most hate to make you stronger. I am no longer completely afraid of the mouse poops…I know how to clean them up. I have learned to set my own traps with peanut butter. I even will check the traps for Andy, and let him know if he needs to take a mouse out. Yes, I still scream if I see one, and, no, I have yet to take care of a trapped one myself. However, I’m getting better. I am learning that God has a reason for everything in your life…even nasty mouse intruders and their deadly poops! Sometimes it’s the little things in life that really matter.