Let's just get it out there.
I've got mouse poop all over my kitchen.
And in my basement.
It's in my cupboards and drawers, mostly. Underneath the spices. Hanging out next to the saran wrap. And yes. Somehow they've made it to my silverware.
Mice are a reoccuring problem in our old city house. We have all the traps set. We've calked all the things. I've cleaned and recleaned the cupboards, washed all the silverware, but still it comes back.
It's just the sort of thing that can take a bad day and make it worse. When attempting to drown my sorrows in a bowl of Ben and Jerry's, I'll reach for a spoon, and BAM! Mouse poop.
What I've seen, I can't unsee.
Many times, I will spot it and think "Awesome. Great. Just what we need! One more thing." Then I start slamming a lot of cupboard doors to let them know I'm on to them. And some days, I shut the door quietly, close my eyes, and choose to ignore it entirely. If I clean it today, it will be back next week.
The kind of life tired when a quarter pound rodent is too big to fight. Defeated by Cinderella's best friends. Now that is pitiful. But that is the kind of life tired I find myself in these days.
And for whoever is reading and who also has this kind of life tired pulling the lids of your eyes down and giving you an eternal headache, I get you.
And I just want you to know, it's okay.
You have exactly 5 seconds to shout expletives at the sky and feel sorry for yourself. Ready go!
Okay, awesome. I did it too just for good measure and camaraderie and "Stick it to the man!" and all that jazz.
Now make a decision.
Count mouse turds. Or count the times that your toddler has pointed to his temple and said "eyyyas" today. Or count the times you got texts from your girlfriends that still see you and love you, even if they are in a far different place in their life. Or count the fact that your husband made you coffee that day. Count the clothes on your back and the picture frames of loved ones on the wall.
Count the many ways God is telling you He loves you today.
But then, you can't. Because they are countless.
I think perhaps this is what people mean, when they say "Choose joy."
James writes, "trials of various kinds." I'm wondering if "magically reappearing mouse crap" counts. But in any case, my life has had various trials the past few months, mice being a very small portion of the queue.
One of my deepest objections to mice and my inability to cope with them is that once again, I'm not perfect and complete on my own, in my own unsuccessful efforts. A reminder that no matter how many times I clean my cupboards and my heart alike, I'm still going to be covered in the manure of this life.
So what if my goal wasn't perfection, but joy and steadfastness in Christ? After all, He is the only one who can make any of our insides white as snow, pure, redeemed, clean.
What if instead of cursing and slamming doors, melting into tearful despair, and counting the times this has happened over and over again, I prayed for God to help me count it joy? What if I prayed for him to steady me?
I have a sneaking suspicion that if I am counting it joy, if I'm steadfast in this faith, then mouse poop will just be mouse poop.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a date in my kitchen with some rubber gloves, a bucket of warm sudsy water, and an audiobook.
Mouse poop, it's over.