That scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when Indy and the femme fatale are following history through the tunnels and catacombs of Venice and rats are crawling all over them, that haunts me.
I cannot say that rats frighten me so much as “every creeping thing that creeps along the earth”. Bugs, don’t want ’em. Rodents, get out. Amphibians and reptiles, nope. I have made an unsteady allowance for one dog and one pig in my life. (It is of note that Muddy could live for fifteen years and Pepper could live for twenty. So these allowances were very short sighted while everyone else involved seems to have understood these life spans and their implications.)
Once a week when I open the door and flip on the lights of my classroom I hesitate. I hesitate because I want to give all the rats a chance to clear out of my space first. They may live there during the day and hoards of them may take up residence there when it rains. Our tentative agreement however is that two and a half hours a week the room is mine. They may still reside in the walls and horrify me with scratching and squeaking when I mistakenly lean against their abode listening to students read scripture aloud.
Recently I walked in and heard the rats struggling to leave. Turning on the lights to see exactly what was happening, one rat was Ninja Warrior”ing” up a faux silk curtain in the back of the room, it took him a while. Others were stuck in traffic working their way along the makeshift rafters to exit through impossibly small gaps in the building.
Currently in class we are working our way through Paul’s letters. Finishing those tomorrow in fact. Obviously crucial and yet I wanted to send out a group message to my class, after I cleaned the pellets off my workspace, that read, “CANCELLED ON ACCOUNT OF RATS”.
“Wade, you live in a very plush area of Africa.” “Wade, some people eat rats.” “Wade, put on your big boy pants and closed toed shoes.” [Insert snarky response here.]
All of those things and more are true but I assure you I would feel as uncomfortable with a room full of cats. “CANCELLED ON ACCOUNT OF CATS.” I am just skittish.
Here is why I could not send that message though, the joy of sitting in a room full of people who desire to understand God’s word and the beauty of hearing those who speak English as a second and third language read that Word.
When I receive text messages from my students that are currently pastors and it contains an advertisement for their latest “prophecy conference” that will include “Aword of God, Healing, Deliverance, and Debt Cancellation” I am enlivened to keep fending off those rats and their droppings.
(Here is a Selection Advertisements that include Students. Gold or blue dress?)