Duncan: The creature in the corner that you don’t want to deal with


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We stood ready in the basement wielding a pool stick.

The basement had flooded quickly after the sump pump somehow had turned itself off. We were down there with a shop vac when we noticed the soggy creature in the far corner of the room.

My first suggestion was to drop everything and run, but the room had to dry before more water damage occurred. Both Dad and Shawn were working that night, so it was just mom and me against the world — as it often was.

We were almost certain it was dead but concerned it was just a really deep sleeper. 

Either way, the beast in the room had to be dealt with. Our strategy for removal at that point was to take turns tiptoeing about two feet from it, screaming and then racing back to the other side of the room. 

That was proving rather ineffective, so we devised a strategy. Mom beat her fist into a dripping wet baseball glove she found on the floor, ready to pounce on the creature and wrestle it with a large black trash bag. 

I put on the helmet that was discovered next to the glove, which was mostly for comedic relief. I grabbed the pool stick again and crept up to the still body, just staring at it for a moment. 

Extending the pool stick slowly, then retracting every time I thought I saw movement, I finally made contact and quietly squeaked. Nothing happened.

I got a little braver and poked a little harder. When the furry creature rolled over with its eyes wide open, Mom and I ran screaming back up the basement stairs.

We stood at the top of the staircase listening for some kind of snarling, but it was quiet. We inched back down the stairs to find the body in the same open-eyed position we left it in. 

The closer we got, the more confident we became that it was dead. 

When we arrived with gloves and a shovel at what we decided was a soggy raccoon corpse, we began the harrowing process of removing it from the basement. 

Lighter than we expected as we scooped it up and attempted to shove it into a trash bag, it flopped back onto the floor, making us jump backwards.

That’s when I saw it.

Protruding from the animal’s side were two white tags, one with washing instructions and the other displaying the red letters “TY.”

We laughed until our faces were wet and our bellies hurt. 

We wasted half the night trying to capture a wet stuffed animal. While it was funny, we also lost a lot of time because we were scared of something that never was a threat.

This describes so much of my life. A beast will lay in the corner of my heart that I just don’t want to deal with. 

Maybe it’s a phone call I am afraid to make or an email I don’t know how to answer. Maybe it’s something bigger, like news I don’t want to deliver or even an envelope I don’t want to open.

I cower from across the room. In the meantime, something very simple and harmless often multiplies into a snarling drooling monster that I just don’t know how to face.

There I am stuck in a corner, allowing fear to hold me back from moving forward with the life I know I can have. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. God doesn’t call us to a life of fear but one of boldness.

There are times when He commands us to be still and wait while He slays a dragon in our path. There are also times when He places the sword in our hands and says, “Go, and I will be with you.”

There are also serious things we have to face no matter what.

When the doctor comes in and the news isn’t good.

When the phone rings late and you find out a loved one isn’t coming back home.

When your heart breaks over tragic news.

When everything just seems to be falling apart.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10.

He is with you even when it’s hard. He will guide your steps and when you can’t go on, He will pick you up and carry you. 

He’s always there, even when it’s an old, wet, stuffed raccoon. He might be laughing, but He’s still there.

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