It all started with the little tail I saw disappearing under the closet door in the laundry room. While you Texans have to contend with scorpions and fire ants, up here, when the the first chill of autumn arrives, so do mice. I ignored this sighting, hoping the mouse would just go on his merry way. No luck. “Guess what I just saw run through the laundry room?” said my husband the next evening. Ignoring Hubby is a little harder than ignoring the mouse, but I still didn’t want to confront the little critter.
My self-delusion came to a screeching halt Friday morning when the mouse ran from the baseboard and under the refrigerator, catching the dogs’ attention, as well. You come into my kitchen, I need to deal with you. And “dealing with” would NOT entail a tiny havaheart trap and a drive to a lovely mouse retirement village somewhere many miles away. So there I was, not quite standing on a chair screaming, but a little uncertain about my next move, with two-and-a-half dogs getting worked up around me. (The spaniel, Gracie, and the little havanese were on the case, but the more-than-occasionally-half-witted standard poodle just stood there looking more like Odie than like Lassie the rescue dog. Remind me not to count on him if I fall down a well.)
Ignatian spirituality says to “find God in all things.” Rainbows, sunsets, even doing menial chores for loved ones—that I get—but finding God in my present rodent situation? A little harder. Then I noticed Gracie, sitting with rapt attention at a cabinet door next to the fridge, not anxious or excited, just intensely focused. And a thought sprang into my head. “I wish I had that focus during adoration.” Did I mention that this happened on First Friday?
Gracie’s a dog and she wants to hunt, you say. It’s just her nature, you say. Yes, but we are created in God’s image, and it’s in OUR nature, our hearts, to yearn for God. Gracie KNEW that the mouse was in there. She knew it with a certainty that comes from her awesome sense of smell and her keen hearing. In adoration, I know Jesus is there because of my spiritual senses, senses God put in my soul. Senses beyond those physical, materialistic desires that often distract me from God the way a squirrel distracts my dogs. As I watched Gracie watch that cabinet, I murmured a little prayer of thanks for such an amusing reminder to be aware of God at all times—and to get to adoration!
Taking a deep breath, I slowly eased the cabinet door open a few inches, and Gracie took this as her go-sign. Her snout was into the breach in a split second and she’d shoved aside the trash can in a couple more. With amazing agility for an eight-year-old, slightly arthritic pooch, she sprang out and ran under the kitchen table, only the tail of the mouse visible, dangling from her mouth. I swear she was smiling as I began to scream. I screamed because I was afraid she’d drop it and I’d have a wounded rodent scurrying around. I screamed because I was afraid she wouldn’t. (And by the way, if I’m being axe murdered in my home, I now know none of my neighbors will be able to hear me.) Being the semi-obedient darling she is, Gracie finally dropped her now-dead prize and it received a proper mouse burial—it was garbage day, after all.
So with a nudge from a mouse and a dog, I went to adoration Friday afternoon. I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for the reminder to recharge in the presence of Jesus, to strip away the external distractions that sometimes make me forget my true nature in the eyes of God. And it’s a good thing adoration is silent. I was still pretty hoarse from all that screaming.