I had taken a bucket of mulch from my compost pile and was putting it around plants when I found a small newborn creature in it. I held it in my hand for a long time and studied it with awe. About the size of a pecan, it lay in the fetal position, eyes still unopened, its smooth skin translucent. The long tail was the only clue to what it was. It was so absolutely vulnerable and precious, I almost wanted to cry. I felt a deep sense of love, protection, and oneness with this sacred innocent being.
This tiny life was in my hands and I fretted about the best course of action. I finally decided its mother must be frantic with worry, so I put it back in the compost pile, hoping she would find it and it would survive. I knew in my heart I couldn’t kill that baby mouse without doing great violence to my soul, nor did I want to.
To me, it felt like a great gift from God our Mother to let me hold that new life, reminding me to care for all of creation — often equally defenseless, powerless, and trusting — with the same reverence and determination. So often we focus on saving the whales, polar bears and other spectacular creatures because they aren’t causing us any inconvenience. But if squirrels get in our rafters or mice invade our pantries, watch out!
Suddenly our noblest intentions desert us, and we pull out the traps and poisons, oblivious to the lingering suffering this might cause. No time for sentiment, we rationalize. It’s us against them. I’m not saying there might never be a time for drastic measures, but at least we can raise our consciousness of the value of every living creature. And we can research the most humane ways to discourage animal co-habitation with us.
New to NCR: In his Pencil Preaching column, cartoonist Pat Marrin offers a sketch and reflection for the day's scripture readings. Learn more>
A mouse has just as much right to be here as we do. I remember a cartoon where two deer were talking and one was saying, “Why don’t they cull their own damn herd.” We have to get over our privileged position, believing we are the only creatures with souls, and therefore, the most valuable. Rather than lord it over the rest of creation, it should be exactly the opposite. Because we have a unique consciousness of our affinity with God, then surely we should be most godlike by protecting life and loving it like God does.
Let’s always remember that God shines forth in what we deem the lowest of creatures. I saw it with penetrating clarity the day I held that newborn mouse. Even mice can be our saviors.