The Death of a Shrew


I bought a mouse trap. Not for a mouse, but for a tiny little shrew, pear shaped and furry plump, with a long tail and pointed nose. He appeared one cold Sunday morning in the church manse, after my return from a trip. And he needed to go before he got too comfortable with the accommodations or the choices on the lunch menu. But I was busy at the moment with church preparations. So I tried my best to ignore the flash of fur streaking from one room to another except to periodically get up and thrust an empty coffee can before his path in hopes of trapping him. And I prayed that by some miracle, the little creature would just leave.

And I added …   “God, I just don’t want to have to kill this thing!”

I didn’t see the little guy after church, but thoroughly checked out my bedding and the pantry.   The next day I went to the hardware store to buy the trap. My choices were the old-fashioned guillotine break-the-neck sort of trap, to be set in hopes that a neck not a paw would break, and the poor creature’s life would end instantly — or the “Stick-Em” pre-bated Glue trap, a strip of peanut butter on sticky foam that would prove fatal. The latter sold at 2 for just $2.49 (a small cost for that little life).   I chose the glue trap, hoping to stick-em and then un-stick-em in the woods outside of town, but was told that this wouldn’t work. “It will scream!” said Cathy at the hardware store. That’s how you know it’s been caught. Then you just find it and pick up the trap and throw the poor creature, sticky foam and all, out into the woods where it will freeze to death … Voila!

I took the trap home, but I never opened the package.

Instead I found a little jar of peanut butter, tipped it on its side, and set it in a corner. Maybe I would just happen to look when the little thing made its way in. And trap him! But I never saw that shrew again until the next day.

I had almost finished unpacking. And there he was– still plump and pear-shaped, long nose and long, spindly legs and tail – trapped under one side of my opened garment bag. But he was very still this time, very peaceful. I picked up his lifeless little body with a paper towel and looked at a perfect little creature, lying on its side in death as if asleep, no broken bones or grueling struggle with a glue trap. I placed him outside in the snow and said a little blessing.

And I thanked God for taking care of it for me.  At least that’s my interpretation.  I still have the trap. Perhaps it serves now as a poignant reminder.

God works in mysterious ways.

And by the way … I’ve never seen another shrew.


When a Phone was Just a Phone


In my whole life, I’ve never gotten a phone for my birthday. It just wasn’t something people gave for gifts when I was a kid. It would have been like wrapping up a broom and dust pan or a new light switch. A phone was just a phone – as important as piped-in water, but nothing to dote on … just something we took for granted and ran to answer when we heard the ring. And the ring tone never varied. No sudden burst of canned music to get our attention! That would have caused alarm! A phone was a phone – nothing more.

But how things have changed! I remember when phones evolved from sitting on a counter or table to hanging on the wall, when the traditional black phone began appearing in colors, and when dialing was replaced by touch-tone and the whole shape of the phone began to change.

But that was only the beginning! TV ads now tell us that everyone of almost any age, even children, need a phone of their own, and that this can provide almost anything you need in life to make you happy! And that includes instant friends to chat with, your own favorite music to plug into, perpetual internet, texting and email access, and the opportunity to record any significant moment for posterity via photo or videotape. But along with this instant access to everyone and everything, comes the temptation to be in your own little world no matter where you actually are, connect to what comforts you or demands your attention from afar, while oblivious to the real world around you.

Cell phone service, battery-powered phones and speaker phone features make it possible to “multi-task” while on the phone. And with answering machines and voice mail, nothing is left to chance; no time is “wasted” on unanswered calls. No more running home to be there when Auntie Jane calls from Florida, or sitting in one place and focusing on nothing but that call when she does. But perhaps good old-fashioned anticipation, and the gift of our time and undivided attention, is being replaced by our “need” for instant accessibility and convenience.

I was happy when I got my first remote phone and found freedom beyond my longest phone cord. But sometimes I’d rather be along the shore of an Alaska ocean beach where I might be out of contact for awhile or with my phone on “mute” along the banks of an Arizona river … with nothing but my own thoughts.

It’s then that my thoughts often turn to God, as I experience the beauty and power of His creation and the power of my connection with Him and all that He has made. It’s a heart to heart connection I don’t need ANY kind of phone for. It’s a Love connection that He offers to anyone who is willing to reach out and receive it. Just give Him a call, and He’ll answer.