Of Mice and Women

summer yard 2015I’ve officially declared war on the four legged varmints who have managed to get inside the workings of my van, twice, and done enough damage to force me to spend hundreds of dollars to repair what they have wrecked. So why is it when the kids kept pointing out the little baby mice that had nested in the basement – I didn’t just kill them all? Why are rats in the van engine easier to kill than baby mice in the basement?

For those waiting with baited breath…I took the baby mice faaaar out to the woods and left them there to chew to their hearts’ content. The rats weren’t so lucky.

I lay awake one night this week wondering how I was going to solve some domestic problems…then I thought of the girls and women held captive by terrorist groups and I began praying for them instead.  I think a lot of what we deal with in life has to do with perspective.  I am not a relativist where I see everything in mere shades.  I believe that somethings are bad, evil exists, and certain realities call for an unrelenting response – hence the demise of the rats in the garage.  But I also believe that part of the genius of a woman’s perspective is her gift of compassion.

I was reminded of this as I read My Sisters the Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell and her examination of Edith Stein, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Theresa Little Flower, and Mary the Mother of Christ, among others.  It is in my compassion for others, even baby mice, that I find my sanity and turn from my myopic concerns toward something much greater – a world fighting life and death battles every day.

In my concern for others, in my prayers, in my apparent weakness for baby mice, I remember that none of us are struggling alone – we belong to a much larger world created by God.  I haven’t turned mice into footmen or numbered them among my friends, I just remember that not every rodent must die. I remember, too, that though my problems may seem terrible and large to me, they pale when compared to the horrific suffering of others.

Putting things into perspective for me is reflected very well in Edith Stein’s observation, “The intrinsic value of a woman consists in exceptional receptivity for God’s work in the soul.” (My Sisters the Saints p. 113) As I accept my role as mother, as friend, as steward of this earth, I attempt to respond rationally and compassionately to the realities I must face.  The van had to be fixed and the rats had to be eliminated from the garage – they weren’t going to move out willingly.  But baby mice can be moved from harm’s way. My problems need to be dealt with honestly but they are not all that serious.  I am part of a suffering world which desperately needs help.  Though I’m not God, I can pray to Him, and He can help. Perhaps, someday, the intersecting paths of mice and women will reflect less the mess of wrecked vans and disturbed mice but rather the glory of God.