The tinny little beeps from my watch awakened me well before I was ready to get up. But get up I did. It was Tuesday morning and I had an appointment with a sadistic fitness leader and her 5:45 a.m. core class. In some odd way, I looked forward to it. I jumped into the clothes I laid out the night before (can't rely on my brain that early in the morning) and quiet as a mouse, tiptoed into the kitchen to find some breakfast. Turns out, I really didn't have to be that quiet.
As I went to open the cereal cupboard, I heard a raucous from within. It sounded like a herd, gaggle, yea, even a pack of wild mice having a heyday. I heard them on the top shelf, then the second, crinkling the bag of a cereal package. Since my presence didn't seem to bother them, I decided to look elsewhere for breakfast. Note to self: break out the mouse traps when I return from my workout.
Upon returning and with disinfectant in hand, I warily opened the doors to undertake the inevitable and necessary purge of moose poo. No, make that mouse poo. Whew! Anyway, what I discovered was an all-out assault on my food. That mouse had chewed a hole into the snap-on plastic lid of a large hot chocolate container and climbed into the depths to feast. Then he chewed his way into my beloved frosted shredded wheat cereal. The top shelf was completely covered with doo-doo, the other levels having lesser but still significant levels of yuck. Everything came out and surfaces were scrubbed clean. The cupboard is usable once again and the traps stand ready to snap down on the next marauding mouse who dares ravage my food.
I got to thinking about this whole scenario. How did I know what was going on under the cover of darkness and behind closed doors? Sure, I suspected foul play when I heard scurrying in the cupboard. But the dead giveaway were the signs left behind; the tiny brown pellets and shredded wrappings. Did I have to actually see the mouse to know that he was up to no good? What if I ignored the signs? Would you want to pull a glass from the first shelf and raise it to your lips? Probably not.
But don't we often ignore sure signs of foul play? We figure that if we don't actually get caught, all is well. But nay, not so. The filth of a life lived in secret contaminates everything. Unfortunately, a simple cleaning will only tidy up the symptoms for awhile. If we don't kill, exterminate, totally eradicate the real problem, we only fool ourselves.
Let's be honest. We don't all hide "big" problems like drunkenness, illicit drug use, or adultery. But I bet we might be guilty of trying to hide selfishness, covetousness, laziness, and pride. Our mouths become weapons. Some pens and paper may wander from our cubicle and end up at home because "they" won't miss such small things.We might shade the truth, be dishonest on our taxes, or even cheat our employer of full attention and time.
We must be careful. Our misconduct (or, in politically incorrect terms, sin), no matter how big or small, leaves a stinky residue behind that gives us away. There is no mistaking it. Though the trap may not have snapped yet, it will, sooner or later. Let's not be afraid to come out from behind cupboard doors and clean up our act. Then we can say with King David, "Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin...Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 17:3,139:23,24).