Of Mice and Men

In 1785, the famous Scottish author Robert Burns penned his most famous poem “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough” which contains the  following lines:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men,
Gang aft a-gley,

You can find the entire poem at http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/mouse

In the poem, the narrator is talking to this mouse whose plans for resting comfortably in her nest have gone awry.  He goes on to tell the mouse that this often happens to mice and men. A century and a half later, John Steinbeck would aptly name his book about two migrant farm workers Of Mice and Men because they consistently run into trouble wherever they go.

It seems that no matter how carefully we humans plan things, trouble eventually occurs. For instance, we’ve found a nice cozy waterfront home to purchase and are under contract for it. However, my husband’s boss has stopped paying his employees. How anyone can be OK with not paying the people working 50 hours a week for him is beyond me. My husband’s last paycheck was only a partial one and the company owner said he would pay them all in full at the end of September. It didn’t happen. Wednesday (October 15th), my husband asked when he could expect to be paid again, and the owner told him it would be later in the week. It didn’t happen. Last night, my husband emailed the owner and let him know that he’s in violation of the Texas Payday Law and that he might be forced to file a complaint if he’s not paid soon. The owner called him to assure him that the checks were just late in arriving from his accounting firm, and he’ll definitely be paid next week. I guess we’ll see what happens.

I’m not really worried. I’m just turning it all over to God. We’re very blessed in that we’re not going to need to take out a mortgage. My husband has decided to just take out a few thousand from his IRA and add it to the amount we made off the sale of our last house to buy the new house outright, but things are tight right now with paying for the inspection, moving our stuff into storage and planning to move it into the next house. I’m also going to have to pay for an upcoming visit to the doctor and prescriptions as my flare has grown worse, and I’ve been experiencing terribly sore legs and overwhelming fatigue. (Healthcare insurance for educators is horrendous!)

Then there’s the whole Ebola scare. My husband has proposed we back out of the contract, quit our jobs, and flee to Oregon where his mother has some land, but in this global age where hundreds of flights criss-cross the United States and the globe each day, wouldn’t we be running from the inevitable? I don’t want to run and I don’t want to live in fear. People tried to outrun the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, and their attempts were futile. I’m not saying I’m going to go sign up to volunteer at a hospital and tempt fate, but I’m not going to be a slave to fear either. In my opinion, to live in fear is to distrust God when we should be putting our faith in him.

Robert Burns ends his poem by stating that the mouse is lucky compared to him because at least it doesn’t dwell on the past or fear the future, so I’m choosing this day to be like the mouse and live for the present.

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