Waiter, there’s a mouse in my soup!

My father had an interesting job. He worked, at various times, for several different missionary societies. His job involved paying pastoral visits to missionaries and took him to countries as diverse as India and Bolivia, Afghanistan and Liberia among many others. As a result he had many stories to tell of the adventures he encountered on his way.

I remember in particular his account of a visit to two missionary ladies in Senegal. They lived, like the people among whom they worked, in a simple mud hut with a straw roof. These ladies had prepared some soup for his visit, and when dinner time came one of them set the bowl of soup down in front of him.

Just at that precise moment, a mouse in the thatch above them gave birth, and the unfortunate offspring landed in my father’s bowl of soup. Without turning a hair, one of the ladies whisked his bowl away from under his nose and dealt with the baby mouse. She brought the bowl of soup back and they continued with their meal.

My father (who always made a point of gratefully eating whatever was set in front of him) said afterwards that he didn’t ask whether it was the same bowl of soup with the mouse simply removed, or whether it was a fresh serving. Being hungry, he tucked in and was thankful.

So here I am, facing the next chapter of my life. The tears come less frequently and the future looks appetising. So am I going to sit and complain about what fell into my bowl, or am I going to attack what’s left in it with relish?

St Paul said, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In other words, whatever the future holds, it will all be permeated with the love of God manifested in the presence of Jesus. What’s not to like?


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