Monday, November 23, 2015

Jesus Knows My Squirrel Suffering

I have this amazing ability to deal with the huge trials in life with dignity and peace, for the most part.

So, it always surprises me when the little things of this life get me down. And it isn't just a little sadness over this or that - it's deep, unrelenting anxiety for a time, over the smallest problems this life throws at me.

It's not secret that I hate my house. I am still in the process of learning to be content in this place I am quite literally stuck in. I'm a work in progress, especially where my home is concerned. If I tried to list all of the problems in our house it would be a short story, a very long laundry list of complaints. From the start, it was shoddy, at best. Sure, it looked great! Ready to move in. Underneath all the glitter though, the contractor who rehabbed it just saw problem after problem and chose to cover it up, not disclosing any of the issues that have haunted us these last 13 years. I'm actually quite surprised he didn't cover the horrid why-did-God-create-it-gumball tree with something, pretending it was any other kind of tree.

Over the years, in addition to faulty wiring, plumbing, broken windows in the basement covered over with drywall so we wouldn't be able to figure out why the basement kept flooding early on, we have had no shortage of animal creatures choosing to take up residence in our home. From ants marching to and fro, to crickets holding seances in the basement, to a family of mice Katherine didn't want to kill, to squirrels hiding out in our attic we have been quite the breeding ground for animals who do not belong. The last big issue we had was the squirrels in the attic. Trust me, they are just as creepy as that book series/movie Flowers in the Attic! Hearing them run back and forth, scratching at the floor and rolling what I can only assume are acorns around on the floor, they creep me out! We called animal control who referred us to a company, who charged us a small fortune to remove 8-9 squirrels and seal up the holes up. That was a few years ago.

Several months ago, we thought we heard familiar sounds in the attic. At first, we wanted to just pretend that we were hearing squirrels on the roof. It soon became apparent that no, they were in fact BACK in the attic. Making who knows how many babies -and trust me, they MUST have been making babies because some of the sounds were...well...I'm 99.9% sure there is a medium sized family of squirrels residing in our attic now.

And as if having extra mouths to feed that we didn't give birth to wasn't enough for us, we can't seem to keep a working appliance in our kitchen. I used to be able to use 2 burners on my cook-top without it shorting out the circuit. More recently, I'm down to one working burner if I want to keep all the power on. But a couple of months ago, the microwave inexplicably quite working. To save space in our kitchen, the lovely man who cut all corners on rehabbing installed a microwave/oven combo into the wall. If you are ever considering putting one of those in your home, let me assure you that it is the LAST thing that you want to do. $500 and 4 repairs later, it *might* be working. We have had the same company come back out 4 times now because their repairs on the microwave didn't hold up. Almost immediately after repair, it would give out again and quit working. So while we were without a microwave, a friend gave us a microwave to use. For a long time, it sat on our dining room table because there was literally no space for it. After I got tired of that, we cleared off an end table and put it there, next to the dining room. Shortly after, that microwave quit working. So Kris brought home a microwave from another friend. We used it a few times, until it started sparking and we decided we didn't really need a microwave that bad anyway. We were given (thank you JESUS and friends!) yet another microwave to use while we tried to figure out how to make the original one work. So far, that one seems to be holding up. But it's only been a couple weeks, so anything could happen!

After our microwave was returned last week, I tried to make loaded baked potato chowder. No more than 5 minutes in, the power just went off in the microwave. To say we were frustrated would be a huge understatement. We were frustrated that the repair company kept charging us and the microwave kept quitting. This morning, the microwave and the squirrels I mentioned who reside in our attic collided. Well, realistically they had collided long ago, but we can only hope that this morning's discovery is indeed WHY the microwave kept refusing to work.

You see, when the repair guy came out today, he decided to investigate into why the microwave wouldn't hold power. This involved taking off the back of the oven, since the two are a combined unit. Hearing him freak out a bit in the middle of his repair startled me. And then I heard him say, "You have a squirrel back here." Dread crept in. He asked if I had a bag or something to put the squirrel in. Then he proceeded to take his pliers and pull piece after piece of dead squirrel from behind my oven. Folks, we have been cooking in this oven several times a week, for years! Who knows how long it has been in there!  Actually, I don't think it is the first one - I just think it's the most recent.  I'm disgusted and anxious about ever eating in my home again. The worst part was making the mistake of looking up at one point while he put squirrel parts into the bag I held up - I simply cannot get rid of the vision of the squirrel's tail.

The entire event sent me spiraling. Out of everything we have been through with our marriage and struggles with the kids, nothing unsettled me quite like this did. In the long run, it's really not a huge deal. If you can find humor in this story, please do. It's still to raw of a memory for me to laugh it off. I found myself in tears this morning, sent into a dark place where I hate my house and everything in it, and I resent the fact that we are stuck upside down on our mortgage, in a neighborhood where all the houses around us have been foreclosed on. It's in these moments that I see the shallow, selfish person that lives deep in my heart. I can tell myself it's not big deal, or that this too shall pass, but the reality is that I am shaken by these types of events in my life. I have quite a bit of anxiety that I battle on a daily basis, and have even had sleep paralysis that involved a very real feeling of a squirrel standing over my face while I slept, tail swishing back and forth against my cheek! So, I crumble when I can no longer pretend that these cursed squirrels aren't living in my home. And they have clearly found an entry point from the attic into the actual dwelling. Granted, getting burned up by the oven is nice retribution - sort of. We still have to deal with the fact that they are making themselves more and more at home. If it were in my power, I would say, "FINE YOU STUPID SQUIRRELS. Take the house! I give up. You win. You live here. I'll leave." But the sad reality is that we are in no position to even think about moving right now.

This is the situation that strips me down to the sinful covetous person that I battle with day to day. I know the right answers. I even know that in a few days or weeks or months, I'll be stable again and back to trusting God with these things. But right now, in this moment, I am weak. This fact wars with the fact that God has blessed me so much, and brought me through things that are so much bigger and more important than sharing my home with squirrels. And I am learning that it is okay to be weak. Because you know what God does with our weakness? His strength is perfected. So I take hope and comfort in that fact and I know that while it is rough right now, God will strengthen me and carry me through this weakness I am feeling. And soon enough I will come to my senses and put my wants and desires into God's hands and allow him to shape them into what He wants. There is hope in my heart because I know my discontentment will pass and when it does, I will be stronger, because he has made me strong.

I'm sharing this song because I love it and it is appropriate, even for me in the "little things." And I'll admit it made me laugh to think of Jesus walking in my squirrel suffering. And the truth is, He IS walking this suffering with me.

1 comment:

  1. Father once again satan is trying to sow discouragement and discontent into the life of Your daughter. In Jesus' name we bind the enemy from wrecking havoc in Your daughters life and her spirit. Pour out Your peace over her, wrap Your loving arms around her and fill her with Your presence in Jesus name we pray Amen