Last night at 1:45 am I was brushing my teeth, the last chore after a long day, when Louisa and her friend Sara came bounding up the stairs. “There’s wildlife in the house! Come quick! It’s big!”
This was a moment custom-designed for Nate, always a champion at man-against-beast within our home. He’d caged a squirrel, a rabbit and a bird, and demolished bumble bees, spiders and horse flies. But in his absence, it had to be me.
“It’s in the pop cans can!” they said, as we approached the noise. I hoped it wasn’t a fox, coyote or raccoon, all of which we’ve recently seen in the neighborhood. Our aluminum can recycling system is over-the-railing into a plastic garbage can at the base of the stairway.
“In there!” Weezi said, pointing.
All 3 of us peered over the railing. “It’s big!” they both said.
In slow, single file we snuck down the steps, Louisa in the lead, following my instructions to gently lift the whole garbage can and carry it outside. But when she moved it, the “big thing” jumped straight up, causing her to drop the can, scream and double-step up the stairs.
That’s when we saw what it was: a half-grown squirrel, frightened to death. All of us leaned over the railing cooing, “Awww, he’s cute!”
We found the garbage lid, covered the can, lifted it outside and set him free. But our encounter with wildlife hadn’t ended. As I reached to turn off the hall light, an 8” dragonfly emerged, the biggest, scariest, buzzingest insect I’d ever seen! Now it was my turn to scurry up the steps. With all the screaming going on, I worried our neighbors would soon appear.
Using the tip of an umbrella to control his flight from a distance, we wore him out until he fell to the floor where we caged him in a bread basket. He, too, tore into the dark night, thankful to be free.
On the way back into the house, we spotted a spider the size of a dime (eliminated today with a broom), and this morning there were mouse droppings across the kitchen counter and stovetop, hints of encounters yet to come.
We didn’t want any of this wildlife in our house, and interestingly, they all regretted being there. I know how they felt, having raced into situations where I didn’t belong. Once inside, it was usually difficult to get out. Occasionally damage would occur, bringing regrets and necessitating apologies.
God offers to spare us from such thoughtlessness, preventing us from running wild. But of course that presumes we trust his wisdom over our own. If we do, he’ll spare us a great deal of grief.
Today we figured out how our wildlife had entered. I’d left the door propped open while carrying boxes in, forgetting to close it.
Too bad they hadn’t asked God whether or not they should have come in.
”When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.” (Proverbs 29:18)