Love-Hate Relationships

I love wildlife, all kinds, even rats.  Our children had a menagerie over the years: fish, turtles, possums, birds, dogs and rats.  No cats, though. Rick is allergic, and they seem to love him and want to be on his lap.

We could use a good cat right now.  While two handymen were putting in the moisture seal and sump pump under our house, they discovered evidence of rats.  We’re not alone. The rat problem made front page news a few weeks ago.  Drought and then heavy rains have brought them in to find and then escape water.

It was a relief to hear these wood rats weren’t dining on people food.  They were bringing in nuts and fruit from outside.  With all the activity going on down under, over and around the house, the rats left.  They’re probably away on vacation and planning to come home when the work is done! Well, our guys have sealed all the holes and entry points. Whoever put in the vents on the roof installed the screens backwards, leaving swinging doors for critters to walk through.  I can just hear them.  “Hey, guys!  Paradise!  Look at all this nice soft insulation.  Our wives and children are going to love this place!”  They can’t get back in so easily now.

Thankfully, these aren’t sewer rats found elsewhere in our town.  (One friend told me she’d seen rats the size of large cats running around in her backyard after a rain!  She could hear them galloping back and forth in her attic.)  Woodland rat or sewer rat, I don’t want any under our house or in our attic.  Ever.

All the insulation is being replaced, sealed, netted and all the old stuff taken away. I’ve been giving repeated thanks for and to the father-and-son team doing the work down under there in the crawl space, squeezing over and under pipes and HVAC vents and clearing, cleaning what we didn’t know was there and will never see. They wisely wear special suits, gloves, masks and goggles.

But we all know rats, being rats, are always near people.  They sneak into homes through any tiny hidy-hole.  Or chew one.  Like habitual sins and bad habits, they creep back into our lives and lurk in the darkness until we shine the light on them.  Only then can we repent, be cleansed, renewed. We can start over fresh.

We’re installing an owl box and a hawk perch.  Both birds have good eyesight, can spot invaders and dispatch them.  I think of the Lord looking down and the Holy Spirit whispering, if I’m willing to listen.  Watch out!  Temptation is sneaking in.

Ah, I do love wildlife. Almost all kinds.  Right now, I have a special place in my heart for hawks and owls.  They remind me to be diligent and watch out for thoughts and actions that need to be dispatched lest they become an infestation.