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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • Theology in the Trenches: The rooftop ruckus

  • Pitter-patter, scratchety-scratch…the familiar sounds thudded directly upon the wooden beams mere feet away. The pounding signaled life beginning to make its presence known, unbeknownst to me. In Minnesota it would, no doubt, have been squirrels. Trouble with this trouble was that this wasn’t Minnesota. It was hom...
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  •     Pitter-patter, scratchety-scratch…the familiar sounds thudded directly upon the wooden beams mere feet away. The pounding signaled life beginning to make its presence known, unbeknownst to me. In Minnesota it would, no doubt, have been squirrels. Trouble with this trouble was that this wasn’t Minnesota. It was home away from home for the next two years which meant the reality was it wasn’t just south, it was South America. Bedding down for the night, I dug myself deep beneath the covers. The solution to the problem was easy. I pretended there was nothing there.   
        In the morning as I made my way out into the shed which was attached to the single ply wooden slated structure I called home, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Perhaps in the dark of night my pretending made the beasties disappear, but now in the daylight, there was no denying it. They were there. The rats were a reality within the confines of my living space.   
        So, too, came the face off with another creature or two or three. With mosquito net tightly tucked in all around, I’d convinced myself that nothing could get me during the darkest hours. There was nothing to fear but fear itself, I thought, until I came face to face with the rugged truth one night. With kerosene lamp in hand, I made my way out of doors, but before doing so, grabbed a jacket as the evening was chilly. Removing the garment from the nail brought forth a scattering of three inch by one inch insects that I denied existed in house.    
        Rounding the corner to the kitchen, the lantern swung ever closer to the pots and pans hanging about. Minimally before me were thirty creatures making their homes literally undercover upon the wall. Grabbing the can of raid, I raided them. They scampered, I scampered, and knowing full well the battle was lost…I pretended it wasn’t. It was the only coping mechanism I had when dealing with cockroaches.   
        I was in denial. I was in denial that there were rats on the roof top. I was in denial that cockroaches lived an arm’s length away from where I slept not to mention slithering across the pots and pans upon which I cooked. I was in denial that the water I pulled from my well was not quite up to drinking standards. I was in denial that the piles of specs within my home were from the termites undermining the shifting sands. And last but not least, I was in denial that something could enter from the outside in even though I could see between the boards from the inside out.   
    Page 2 of 2 -     And so I lived. It was a good life. Truth-be-told, there were things about this life in which I was not in denial. I was not in denial about my personal safety. I had been taught well to utilize a padlock on each door. I did. I’d been told that once you enter in, make sure to turn around and lock it immediately before setting anything down. Only once did I second guess that…but quickly decided to turn back and follow protocol. Just as I’d clipped the lock into place, the banging upon my door began. The banging moved to the shuttered up window but eventually subsided...thanks be to God. Last but not least, I wasn’t in denial in my desire to seek His face.   
        Like Jonah and the whale, He spat me upon solid ground. After traveling thousands of miles, I landed mere blocks away from two School Sisters of Notre Dame who loved me like their own during my stint with Peace Corps. Sister Maria and Sister Charlaine not only cared for me, but prayed with me, and helped me dig deeper into His word. Born again believers, these two ladies hailing from Wisconsin were called to love.   
        And finally, I wasn’t in denial in understanding the powerful words spoken each time we broke bread together. “…forgive us and heal us in those areas where we don’t even know we need healing.” It was a gentle stroke, a kind stroke allowing pause to bring before Him those areas we didn’t even know needed  forgiveness and healing…knowing that He is all knowing.  Amen.
        
        Kathleen lives on the family homestead in northern Minnesota with her husband of over thirty years. The youngest of their six children recently graduated from H.S., thus making room for more frequent visits for those wishing to return to the nest every now and again. Kathleen is a full time teacher who enjoys reading, writing, and traveling. Theology in the Trenches encapsulates personal stories and experiences that have a common thread with the hearts of others. She may be reached at wemenews@gvtel.com

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