My daughter talked her grandparents into allowing her to procure a "pet rat" about a year ago. I am a farmgirl. Rats are offensive, invasive and destructive on the farm. So, when she brought this creature home, we were less than thrilled. His name is Gizmo and he goes by Gizzy most of the time.
Gizzy's "home" was primarily an old birdcage someone gave her with three tiers but rather small - the size you would keep a parakeet in. He lays on the shelf and looks out at the world most days. My husband has fear of two things - snakes and vermin. So, the presence of Gizzy in our computer room was rather unnerving to him.
Time has passed and Gizzy has grown into a full fledged vermin. However, my husband began to feel sorry for him. He never cries, he never makes a mess and he's always willing to sit and listen to conversation. Dave began giving him treats through those bars and soon realized that this creature is not all evil and hate-filled but grateful and gentle. He's never bitten, never growled and never tried to escape.
In the last few months, upon Dave's insistence, Gizzy has been getting brief reprieves from his cage and he's been more than willing to demonstrate his grattitude. My daughter too has been grateful to see her beloved....err....rat...becoming more entrenched in the household. Even the "J's" - A & B - cats for those of you who do not know - have been reluctantly acceptant. Since Gizzy is almost half their size, they seem more respectful than anything else.
This week a small miracle occurred. Dave provided the funds to procure Gizzy a new, much larger cage. The feed store owner allowed us to purchase it wholesale as well, knowing the thrill Leiren was experiencing to see this creature finally being treated as a non-enemy in the household. Previous experiences with vermin such as miniature and full size hamsters have not been so successful. We have scars, our walls have scars and a few cats have full bellies from the constant attacks, escape attempts and temper tantrums these creatures have attempted.
This new cage is glorious! It's huge, it's beautiful, it took two hours to put together and it's consuming my daughter's living space. It's just what she wanted and the $3.00 rat is now living it up in his much more expensive cage. Gizzy can lay on his top shelf and look my daughter in the eye as she lays in her bed. He can reach out and touch her hand when she reaches to him and he can enjoy his never ending treat supply as we slide them through the bars. He's a happy fella today after a year of sacrifice and cramped living.
I have never experienced a "relationship" with such a tiny creature, especially a creature normally so dreaded on a farm. This large rat has reminded me this morning, as I was handing him some left over popcorn and he was presenting his tiny hand to grab it, that each of us have a reality that we are forced to accept. It's only through grace that our realities are changed for the better. Each reality we live within is what we make of it. We may have a tiny house but if we are loved, we have everything.
The truth is, we are loved daily by the most important person in the world - Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. This rat has earned my family's love for what he is. So, I have to ask myself - have I done anything to earn the love of my Lord? While I work hard at that task, He's willing to give me that love regardless of how hard I work to earn it. It's a great way to start a Friday morning, realizing that I am given "unconditional" love. I didn't have to sit in a small space for a year to prove my worthiness, it's just given to me because I exist.
Snow Tire and Frozen Daffodil Festival
3 years ago