By Karen O’Connor -
One morning as I reached for my breakfast food in the back of my station wagon at a campground in the Sierra Mountains, I noticed that several of the plastic bags had holes in them. One in particular was badly punctured. I had filled it with various nuts and dried fruits. When I picked it up, most of the contents fell out.
How strange. I was certain I’d put this mix in a brand new zippered bag. “Oh well, I’ll deal with this later,” I muttered. It was time for the group’s morning hike and I didn’t want to be late.
My friends and I returned to our site that afternoon and I opened my car to take out a snack and some water. To my surprise several more bags were full of holes. Even my Kleenex tissues were perforated. I assumed it was an insect and let it go. Flies and mosquitoes were all around so I chalked it up to life in the outdoors.
At the end of the week we broke camp and said our good-byes. Then I drove down the mountain to the motel where I planned to spend the night before heading home the following day.
I organized my gear, did a couple loads of laundry, ate dinner, and headed for bed. The next morning when I opened my car a terrible stench hit my nose. What is that? I wondered. I didn’t have any fresh food in the car so I was really puzzled.
Then suddenly I noticed a small furry creature curled up in a little open box I had left on the floor of the back seat. A long tail hung over the edge. A field mouse. “Eeek!” I shrieked and shivered at the sight. Poor fella must have snuck in when my car was open, and then died in the extreme heat of the day after I locked my car.
“Help!” I called to one of the employees at the motel. “A dead mouse. I can’t bear to touch it. Would you please remove it for me?”
The man chuckled, reached in, and carried the little guy, box and all, to the trash container. I thanked him and off he went. But then I had a shame attack. It was just a field mouse, after all. Why did I make such a big deal out of it? He was one of God’s creatures, too. And if the Lord could make a place for him on the earth, surely I could allow him to help himself to a few nuts and berries.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.
Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this?
In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10 NIV).