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Renae Brumbaugh

Last Friday, I nearly lost my life.

I was standing in the laundry room, removing wet clothes from the washing machine and putting them in the dryer when a predator made his presence known, and I screamed so loud I could have wakened the dead. There, in the midst of my nice, clean, wet laundry, was a mouse!

How did he get there? And how did he survive the laundry cycle without drowning? Stupid high efficiency machine. He probably felt like he was getting a nice shower.

I slammed the lid down and looked through the window on top. There he was, happy as could be, nestled up in my unmentionables. What to do, what to do . . .

I called my husband, who was out of town. “Just leave him alone. I’ll be home tonight,” he said.

Leave him there for eight hours? Yeah. Right.

I called my dad. He wasn’t feeling well, so instead of screaming in panic, I calmly asked, “How do you suggest I get a mouse out of my washing machine?”

“Throw a towel over him, then scoop him up and take him outside.”

Okay. I can do this. I found an old towel, took a deep breath, and opened the lid. But as soon as The Rat King saw daylight, he leapt into the air, trying to make a great escape. I screamed again, slammed the door down, and clenched my chest. This rodent would surely lead to my “demice.”

I called my brother. No answer. Surely there was a man somewhere in the vicinity who was available and willing to help a poor, frightened woman. After all, the Bible tells us to help widows and orphans in distress! Since my husband was gone, I took liberties to place myself in the widows and orphans category.

I called First Baptist Church. “May I speak with the pastor?”

“He’s studying right now. May I have him call you back?”

Hmmmm. I hesitated to say it was an emergency, even though in my mind, it was. “No, that’s all right.”

“Is there something I can help you with?”

“Uhm . . . well, can you promise to keep this confidential?” I didn’t want to be the laughingstock. Yes, I realize I’m telling the whole town by writing this article, and I’ll probably be the laughingstock. But as I type this, I’m not facing a killer-disease-carrying rodent.

“Certainly.”

“I have a mouse in my washing machine.”

“Is it alive?”

“Yes.”

It took a minute for her to recover from her hysterical laughter. “I’m sorry. I’m not laughing at you. It’s just . . . the situation.” By this time, I was laughing too. “Let me see what I can do, and I’ll call you back,” the woman said.

Within ten minutes, a kind-sounding man called. Within a half hour, one of the deacons from the First Baptist Church was on my doorstep. He had thick work gloves and an empty coffee can and lid. I ushered him into my laundry room with a warning that while the rodent looked like a mouse, it had the jumping power of a kangaroo rat. Within two more minutes, the mouse was in the coffee can, lid on, and my new favorite deacon walked down the street and released my tiny terrorist into the woods.

I re-washed my laundry, using lots of bleach. Since then, things have been pretty quiet around the Brumbaugh household. No more mini-predators. No more near-death panic attacks.

I am so grateful to First Baptist Church and a gracious man who probably had much better things to do with his time. That simple deed didn’t make the news. It didn’t sway world politics or end any wars. But it made a difference in my little world.

And really, isn’t that what it’s all about? Doing a little bit of good where we can, helping people in small ways whenever possible? When we make good deeds a habit, we really do change the world. Bit by small bit, kindness by kindness, people learn that we care. And eventually, they realize that God cares about them, too.

Even in the little things.

For more hope and humor, visit renaebrumbaugh.com.

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