Today Child 5 light-heartedly placed her pet mouse on Child 2’s head. He was surprised, was deep in thought, didn’t know what it was, reached up and grabbed it … and tossed it against the wall. Everyone was stunned, then everyone was crying, then everyone went to their corners.
I was working away in my office, and Child 6 came to tearfully tell me, because he was worried about Child 5. I went to her locked door and gently asked if I could come in. She was sobbing on her bed, with her little mouse laid gently in his cage. I picked him up, then called her to come kneel with me on the floor. I sent for everyone to come, and Child 2 crept in last, still sobbing too. I looked at Jack’s still, eyes-closed form, except for the rapid, uneven breathing, and thought, “oooh, survival is a toss-up.”
Then I talked to my children and a couple of extras about creatures and a God who is mindful of even sparrows, and we prayed together around a little black and white mouse. It was sweet, in the way that animal and child things are.
To my surprise, halfway through, the mouse stood up and turned around in my hand. My eyes flapped open and I looked at him as he laid his chin on the base of my thumb, and looked very deliberately at me. I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “Look!” I don’t think they were half as surprised as I was.
This is where we turn it upside down. The mouse is fine, in his cage happily running on his wheel, one eye a little droopy. The kids are off doing their things. I’m wondering why I was surprised, when this whole thing was my idea.
I’ve been thinking since whether I believe all the things I say. For instance, how do I feel about prayers? For the big things, I’m a believer. For the little things, in my life, I’m a believer. So why was I already set to tell sad-eyed children that it might not work out? Did I really just sermonize on sparrows, but believe that it really was “too small” to matter? I’m wondering what else I need to examine.
At the same time, I’m thinking of other facets of my little sermon. It’s important when we’re hurt, whether about something that damaged us or someone we’ve damaged, that we move on to focus on what can be done. It’s our nature, however, to go to our corners. We aren’t meant to suffer alone, and nothing ever resolves when we do. We needed our little gathering in a circle on a bedroom floor, for a stunned mouse, and all the stunned people.
But I’m wondering now whether I really believe that. I don’t know, but it’s worth pondering. I keep seeing that mouse lay its head on my palm and look at me.