Rats

I have delayed long enough.  Time to restart my posts.  I did not intend to take off this long.  I was going to post in January and in February.  Here it is March and I am just now getting something going.

I had a rat turn up in January. Literally.  I have a small storage shed in the back yard.  I used to keep my “attic” boxes in it.  I didn’t have an attic at the house where we raised our children.  He bought me a building in which to keep Christmas decorations and canning jars and odds and ends.

After we moved to this house, I have an attic and more closets than I can keep up with.  I have actually forgotten about a closet on occasion when trying to remember where I stored something!

I didn’t need the shed any longer.  I thought.

He used it to store feed and seed until the mice drilled a few holes and set up housekeeping.  So, we emptied it out, moved it closer to the house and I started using it to store yard tools and ice chests.  Mouse-less as far as I could tell.

This past Christmas, getting things down from the attic was more challenge than this fifty year old self wants to face.  I decided I could clean and rearrange my little shed and use it for my Christmas decorations and things again.

I did not know that it had become a pack rat condo. Not the human kind of pack rat.  The rodent kind of pack rat. Corn fed fat. Literally. A mostly empty bag of deer corn was left on one of the trailers parked near the shed. He found it.  I know he did, because there was a lot of it inside the shed where he dropped it.  In the process of clearing out my things, I came across the loose corn and very large droppings.  Knowing it was not simply a mouse, I continued cautiously clearing things.  Finally, I realized where his nest was located. Right in plain sight. But, camouflaged with flowers he had scavenged from the ones I had laid on the shelf previously.

He finally appeared when he was between me and the door. I did not know if he went out the door or behind the ice chest below the shelf that had become his condo.  Well, he didn’t go out the door.  That is how I saw him creeping his obese self along the back wall of the shed.

I called him on the phone to tell him to not forget to get chupacabra poison. Not just mouse poison, RAT poison.  He assured me it was already in the truck.  The creature does not appear to live there now.  He consumed a large quantity of the bait.  I presume he went on to his reward.

I have let other rats set up housekeeping in my life. The rat of uncertainty.  The rat of laziness. The rat of self-condemnation.  The rat of insecurity.  I have set out poison for those rats, too.  His Word is good bait to get rid of those kinds of rats.  I must keep feeling my way along, even when I don’t have “enough light for the step I am on”.  Even in the darkness of indecision, I can press on.  Do what I have been doing until a new way opens up.  Just keep going along until the path is shut off and no passage can be found.

I don’t have to know the way. I don’t have to know the how.  I just have to show up at the appointed place at the appointed time.  Where is that place?  On my spiritual knees in prayer to Him.  Seeking the Spirit’s guidance and strength and wisdom and discernment.  But, then get up and do the thing that is due.  Without any idea of outcome or expectation of satisfaction.

For me that seems to be here at this keyboard. Typing. Or even in my journal. Scribbling. I just scribble a million thoughts one after the other.  I hope someday something cohesive might come together.  But, if not, the scribbling helps me be better able to meet the world with compassion and understanding.  And the typing connects me to a few people I love more than my very breath.

The rats will keep coming. I will continue to battle them.  I am so much stronger than I thought.  I am going to keep fighting, even in the dark.  Against the rat of doom that sometimes makes me feel life is too sad.  Against the rat of sorrow that threatens to set up a condo in my heart. Against my own rat of attitude when my compassion fails and I just want to make my nest tight around be to ward off people who make me sad and angry.

He went in the shed and got the rat condo out for me. He put it on the fire pile and burned it to ashes.  He does his part to help Him take care of me.  Even when I act like a rat, piling things up around me to keep myself insulated from the world.  So far neither of them has decided to use “bait” on me!  I must still have some redeeming qualities or some certain purpose to fulfill. I will ease along then.  Seeking the next step to take no matter how small.  And if I stall like I did with my posting, I will get them to help me clear out the rat’s nest in my mind and heart and get moving again.

 

 pink flowering tree

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Winning Battles

This past weekend, I was “home alone”. No bad guys came along to make things exciting.  (Thank Goodness!)  It gave me time to sort out some things.  Not always a good thing.  When I am alone at home, I can sometimes fall too easily into despair.  The bad guys I fear are not human.  Rather, they are the wraiths of the past clawing at my mind.

I had to battle through some issues. No tears.  Just feelings of anger.  Anger that I still have not destroyed them altogether.  I went through journals from the past couple of years.  I pulled out some passages and tossed the rest of the notebooks.  Then, I went through the passages to try to make sense of them.

I am much better than when I wrote them. As I have healed my emotional issues, I notice a spiral motion.  For many years, it seemed I would be down and then circle around to not so bad and then to doing pretty well.  Then, I would continue on back to being down.  But, the down was always worse than the last time.  I feared getting to the bottom of the spiral and never making it back around to the good side.

A couple of things happened that changed the direction of the spiral. Slowly, the spiral has continued, but the direction has changed.  The difference is that now the spiral is going up.  The bad side is not as bad as last time.  And last time was not as bad as the time before that.  The pattern has continued long enough that I believe I will finally be free of the black hole that lingers out on the horizon of my mind.

What were the couple of things? The first occurred several years ago.  I was confronted with a mental health provider who tried to convince me that perhaps I was bipolar like my father.  I had completed the 15 question “yes or no” questionnaire.  I answered yes to three questions.  Yes, I have had racing thoughts.  Yes, I have overspent money and gotten in a bind.  Yes, I have gotten into arguments with others.  I answered no to the other twelve questions.  When he realized his insurance covered customer was about to get away unmedicated and not added to his case load and cash flow, he tried to declare that perhaps I was borderline.  If yes to those three questions make me borderline bipolar, this world is full of crazier-than-me-people.  I got mad and told him thanks but no thanks in a very not nice way.  I left and while driving away realized that I am not following in my father’s footsteps.  I am not even close to being mentally ill as I have always feared.

The second thing was something I did with his help. I determined that a fast was in order.  I needed to fast and pray and let God take care of something.  So, I fasted for three days.  I was physically ill by the third day.  I have blood sugar problems anyway, so it was a challenge from day one.  But, he supported and encouraged me.  And God gave me two things.  He resolved the problem I was fasting about specifically.  The unexpected thing can be summed up in this statement I wrote on the last evening.  “God, if the day comes when all I have is Your Salvation and my sanity, it will be enough.”

I knew then that I would be okay. That was a little over four years ago.  That is when the spiral started going up.  I have still had dark sides of the circle.  Each time has been less dark, less terrifying, and taken less time to get through.

The war is not over, but the tide has turned. Each battle is entered with more confidence of victory.  The wraiths will come again.  I will continue to sharpen my sword and hone my skill wielding it.  The day will come when I will hear them in the distance and they will not be allowed to cross into my mind.

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