Squirrels in the attic

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, January 17, 2018

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Attention: Husbands. It is not a good idea to suggest that your wife has squirrels in her attic or bats in her belfry.

Unless you need a great, attention-grabbing headline. Then, go ahead. I hope your couch is comfortable.

“I hear squirrels in the attic!” That’s what she said.

I thought they were on the roof, but I said, “I’ll take care of it.”

Attention: Everybody. Saying you will take care of it is not the same thing as taking care of it. You see, when I said I would take care of it, she understood that I would actually do something. Words not supported by actions are empty.

So, step one was entering the attic to investigate. Sure enough, the evidence of animal activity was scattered about. And by “scattered” I mean scatological evidence.

So, now that presence was confirmed, what should step two be? Well, they came in through some opening, surely they could leave by the same opening.

Attention: Everybody. Wishing something will happen usually doesn’t result in it actually happening. Positive or wishful thinking is most effective when it is accompanied by appropriate action.

So, step two was to research how to get rid of squirrels. In the meantime, our quarterly pest treatment happened and the professional had some “stuff” he could put in the attic that would cause them to (A) get really thirsty and go outside to find water or (B) dehydrate and decease in the attic. Option A was certainly what we hoped for because option B would require a recovery and disposal operation.

A few days later, I arrived home to aromatic evidence of the latter option. I noticed it the moment I opened the front door. Mrs. Sweetie, however, had been home all day and hadn’t noticed it. After about five minutes, I couldn’t smell it anymore.

Problem solved. Just stay in the house and get used to it.

Attention: Everybody. Getting used to the stink is not the same thing as getting rid of the stink. Problems don’t go away just because we have adjusted to their reality. We could stay inside, but every guest in our home would notice the stink upon entry. And before long, we would carry the stink on our clothes everywhere we went.

So, step three was the recovery operation. I put together my closest approximation to a hazmat suit and ventured into the attic with a Walmart body bag. Not being a professional, I can’t identify the species of an animal by looking at its droppings or listening to its footsteps. However, I am able to identify a carcass with a long skinny tail as not belonging to a squirrel.

She didn’t have bats or squirrels. She had a rat.

Attention: Everybody. Things are not always what they seem at first. Premature assumptions usually lead to incorrect conclusions.

I hope you’ve figured out that this post is not really about squirrels, rats or the varied adventures that happen at Casa Lewis. It’s about real life. It’s about proactively responding to life’s interruptions and inconveniences before they become major hindrances.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Your life matters. Interruptions and distractions will come. Deal with them quickly and decisively so that you can refocus on what matters most.

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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