Taking stock recently of my body’s collision with breast cancer, I’m intrigued by how God has tucked so many life lessons into this natural world, almost as if He’s devised a sort of “treasure hunt” for us. It was with amusement that I stumbled upon a lesson in “Muskrat Love” buried for me in my own back yard.
One has taken up residence in our pond — a Muskrat, that is. I first spied him just after Christmas, before the ice, and while winter delayed its coming. Walking the pond’s sunlit edge, I heard a splash. A long, flat tail slithered behind a lump of fur below the glassy surface. I stood still, quiet, waiting, when a pointy nose pierced the surface, followed by beady eyes. A rippled wake marked Muskrat’s progress across the spring-fed pond. Just as suddenly, he was gone and the water calmed.
Since that first sighting, I’ve been able to watch him from my kitchen window or from a second-story bathroom. Some days, I miss his travels across the pond. The surface remains unbroken, no wake appears. Others, I spy his slick head or catch sight of the ripples his journey creates. I know from Husband who trapped as a boy that Muskrat is probably burrowing into the walls of the pond we dredged in the fall. No doubt, he’s creating a home for the family he hopes to breed come spring.
On these deep winter days, as I walk the edge of this pool of uncertainty and concern, I remind myself that I have owned the fact “cancer” is now part of my personal vocabulary, and there is acceptance of what must be done and what may come. I trust God “has this” and I’m leaning into Him for comfort, and into the love of those who surround me. Most days, there is calm, peace.
But then there are days when a churning begins beneath the surface and I sense some burrowing deep in the strong wall of faith I’ve built. A doubt, a tremble of fear, an essence of frustration — they break the surface and I dwell in them a bit. It feels good to vent a little, to stir the waters and examine what lies beneath. But before long, I see that they threaten to displace this peace I’ve worked to attain. And as I watch the ripples wash over my family, spill into my daily duties, I realize that if I don’t grab these feelings by the tail, they will set up housekeeping in my world, ready to burrow in and build a room for breeding.
Husband says the Muskrat must go. Where, I wonder? How? But, I know too well the plans he has for it, and I protest. Muskrats need a place to live, too, I say. Not here, he says. Where there’s one, there will soon be others, and they’ll wreck the foundation we worked to create in the depths of this peaceful pond.
I have to agree. There is no room for them…..for muskrats or doubts, frustrations or fears……not here, not in our world.