Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Closer Look Reveals Something Else

This past week, our family had an adventure. While eating lunch, from out of nowhere there crawled what first appeared to be a mouse. My 7-year-old was the first to spot the rodent and began warning his little brother. After the initial scattering, we all stopped to take a look at this "mouse" as it strolled across the living room floor as if it was scared of nothing. I thought it odd that it was out in the middle of the day in a brightly lit room, with activity going on. I was convinced the thing was carrying rabies or something as it's behavior seemed so odd.

In order to save my family, I immediately went into "He-man" mode and trapped it in an area where he had only two ways of escape. I then fetched two mouse traps from the garage, and set them in his path and waited for that "pop" that would let me know my rodent removal process was complete. I waited, and waited, and waited. No "pop." Apparently this was a wise mouse. I then carefully observed what was going on. The mouse would walk right up to the trap, sniff it and make his way around it. Now, I had loaded the trap with cheese as well as peanut butter. If this mouse was uninterested in that, then apparently my diagnoses was correct....we had a rabies infected mouse in our house.

Since the intruder was not taking the bait, I would have to resort to plan B. I ran to the garage and picked up my weapon and came back to the scene ready to protect my family. Telling everyone to stay back, I ran to the battle with garden hoe in hand determined to take this enemy out. I was using the garden hoe not because I intended on chopping its head off, but because when trying to kill something with a blow to the head it covered a large rectangular area. After several attempts, I finally managed to immobilize the rodent and then carefully escorted the dead creature outside.

Gathering around the "mouse" with my two boys in order to get a good look at it, I discovered that this rodent looked different than any mouse I had ever seen. You couldn't really see any eyes or ears on him. His feet and nose looked odd as well. I came to the conclusion that this rodent was not a mouse, but a mole. Our yard has been littered with mole tunnels all summer and I guess with all the rain that we had, the mole was flushed out and somehow made its way into our house. Suddenly, all the odd behavior I had witnessed made perfect sense. He didn't act like a mouse because he wasn't a mouse. Although at first glance, it appeared to be a mouse, a close look discovered that our initial assessment was an error.

As we journey through life, how many times do we do the same thing in our assessment of people. Think about it. How often do we peer at them from a distance and judge them or size them up? I dare say, we do it way too much. We stand at arms length unwilling to truly get to know someone because that first glance has revealed to us all we really want to know about them. There is not a human on this planet who can truly be known from a distance. We may assume we know them, but in my experience, the truth about a person can only be known through relationship. I've stood at a distance from people judging their behavior and actions only to find out the "whys" of their behavior after a closer look. Perhaps it's wounds from the past, internal fears, habits they can't conquer, or a host of other things. The truth is we all walk through life and behave the way we do because of something internal. Judging others from a distance will always result in us failing in our true assessment. As a matter of fact, refusing to take a deep look at ourselves will result in the same. But, that's another topic altogether. Just like me and the mole, I was convinced it was a mouse, but after a close look determined that I was completely wrong.

You can choose to stand at a distance and size up every person you meet. And in doing so, you'll miss so much. I've never seen a mole close up like I did the other day. I've seen pictures of them, but never a real one. I could have simply killed it and dumped it outside and assumed that my initial determination was correct. It was only after I chose to get a close look that I was able to see things I have never seen before. When we choose to get close to people, we will always see more clearly the things that we can not see at a distance. However, I think its imperative that we approach people just a little differently than I did the mole. I'm just thinking we should leave the garden hoe in the garage.

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