As I swish my way down the street (I love the sound of windbreaker pants – woosh, woosh, woosh), I tip my chin towards the rain and observe the honking formation overhead. Here it is, early April, and there they are, heading north. Don’t they know it could still snow yet?
I’ve come to realize that birds are optimists. Whenever I come into our apartment, my cockatiel, Solomon, runs up and down his perch, cheeping excitedly. “Mummy’s here! And I know she’s going to pick me up, take me out of my cage, and scritch my crest – oboyoboyoboyoboy!”
Bert, our Orange Winged Amazon Parrot, engages his optimism in more gastronomical directions. “Oh! Kirk is in the kitchen! Peanuts live in the kitchen! Surely it’s snack time!” It doesn’t matter how many times Kirk emerges from the kitchen peanutless, Bert’s got faith – each and every time.
If only I could face life and prayer with such unwavering optimism and positive expectation! I find myself, in the midst of all of life’s uncertainties, constantly recalling Romans 8:28. ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” I’ve also learned to lean into the context of that passage – Paul goes on in his next breath to say, “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…”. So the good that God is working for is in all things making us more like His Son, not necessarily making our lives nice and tidy. (Again I return to my personal pet peeve with how we confuse the American/Canadian Dream with the Kingdom of God).
So every day gives opportunity for spiritual growth. Every day gives me a chance to look/act/feel more like Jesus than the day before. Every day I can go from glory to glory, even if I’m not going from comfort to comfort. That’s fuel for optimism!
My dad was a hunter. I can remember opening the garage door and seeing ghostly goose carcasses slung from ceiling rafters. Eating wild duck for Christmas and hearing stories of how dad gave up shooting rabbits because if you didn’t kill them right away they cried like babies.
He came by it naturally. The fireplace at my Grandparents log home sported a massive rack of antlers donated by some unwitting and unwary denizen of the forest. In the guest bedroom, old rifles were racked on wall mounts made of deer hooves. I never understood the allure of it all – the thrill of the hunt.
“Yeah! Got one!” I gleefully scooped up the trap and it’s occupant, now stiffened in rigor mousis, and released it into the bushes outside where it would be dinner to some other varmint. The fridge scoreboard read Mouse – 0, Jill 4! Who knew I was so bloodthirsty?
“Why can’t you use the live catch traps?” my husband complained, “They’re much more humane!”
It makes me think of an obscure little verse in the Song of Songs “Catch for me the little foxes… that ruin the vineyards.” The little foxes – I’ve certainly got some internal pests, squeaking and unclean. Offenses, judgments, a sense of entitlement. They may seem small and inconspicuous, hidden underneath the surface. At best they make messes. At worst, they are destructive. So they’ve got to go. No live traps and release. These suckers gotta die!
D.L. Moody was once asked who was his greatest opponent in ministry. His response? D. L. Moody! I’m always asking myself the question, am I holy, or just socialized? What’s scurrying below the surface?
We’ve all got critters, internal vermin, the little foxes, and I don’t know about you, but I’m going after mine!
Just call me the Mousinator!