A rodent’s tale and the price of peace

By Curtis K. Shelburne: Religion columnist

My wife is a very patient woman. That must be obvious—she married me. And, four sons later, a mother either learns patience or she doesn’t survive.
My wife is able to take almost anything in stride. When she was appointed as our town’s municipal judge, and I gave the news to one of our missionary sons in Uganda, his reaction was, “She should be good at it; she’s been laying down the law for years!” Yeah, she deals with most things quite well.
But not mice.
When this normally calm lady sees a mouse in our house or garage, or even suspects one has been there, she is a changed woman. You could almost call it a form of berserk insanity (as opposed to the more technical “non-berserk” form).

But it also is tinged with significant amounts of rage. She obviously feels that her house has been violated, and she is unwilling to rest, or, more to the point, to let me rest, until the violator is stone-cold dead.
It was a good while back now, but I remember it well. We had been suspecting that our kitchen was being frequented by the little creatures. We weren’t completely sure. At least, I wasn’t, though Juana sensed it deeply.
All doubt vanished when we got home from an overnight trip and found a plastic bread bag on the cabinet that had obviously been gnawed and pilfered by a suicidal rodent.
If the mouse had been a craftier sort, he could have lived to a good old age. We don’t leave a lot of food out, but a surreptitious nibbler probably could have lived fairly well. But he got careless. He gnawed too obviously and displayed a shocking lack of personal hygiene.
I knew there would be no peace until one of us—the mouse or me—was dead.
So I baited a trap with peanut butter and left it on the kitchen floor near the rodent’s suspected point of entry. Then I turned off the lights in the kitchen and went back around to work in a corner of the living room.

Just a few minutes later, I heard the loud “pop!” And I rounded the corner to find that we had caught not one mouse but two, dispatched with one blow, done in by a fatal love of peanut butter. And then I woke up the lady who’d put out the contract on the mice to tell her the good news that, finally, I — I mean the household — could have a little peace.

Hey, if a bit of wood and wire and peanut butter is all it takes to bring some peace, those things are cheap!

The good news is that we can have real peace with no purchase at all required. The price has already been paid. And Christ Jesus paid it fully. For you. And for me.