A Rat in the Roof

Belize

I had to go. I just didn’t want to. I should have gone before I went to sleep. The line had been too long.

My legs were sticking to my sleeping bag, and breathing from others around me was quite loud. I peeled myself off the bag, and I tried to stand up quietly. I made my way through the sleeping bodies out the grass door into the darkness. I can’t believe I am here, I thought with excitement. With their muted light the stars and the moon led the way to the small outhouse. I let myself in realizing at once how dark it would be when I shut the door. I held the door open a bit with my flip-flop. Finished, I made my way back to the house our little group was hosted in.

I stopped before the front door and gazed back at the stars. Everything seemed clearer here. I was tired from the day in the village on the other side of the river. We had held a mini-Bible Camp for the kids in that village, and they had a blast. Those kids didn’t look tired at the end of the day. They happily waved goodbye to us as they walked to their various homes.

We had waited for an hour for one of the vans to pick us up, but we ended up having to just start walking. We hitched a ride for a while with a truck, but then had to get off at a crossways. There was a little store there, and we drank bottled Cokes before starting to walk again. The leaders in our group started us singing, and that is how we ended our journey to the river. We caught a ride and made it to the house in time for dinner.

I rubbed my eyes, and turned to the door. Stepping around friends, I made my way to my sleeping bag hoping for a breeze. Just as I was settling into sleep, the girl next to me whispered, “Do you hear that scratching noise?”  At that point girls began to scream, and my friend yelled, “It’s a rat in the roof!” Our leader told us to settle down and go to sleep. “This is normal here. It won’t hurt us. Just go to sleep,” she said calmly. People laughed, and some girls protested loudly that they would never sleep again. Finally, everyone quieted. Except for the rat scratching.

For a 15-year-old on her first international trip, I thought I would be afraid here. I wasn’t afraid at all. My adrenaline pumped as my eyes tried to find the source of the noise in the darkened straw roof. I couldn’t see anything. I don’t know why I even tried. I felt the excitement within me calm a little, and I felt sleep coming in fast. In that moment I discovered a little part of how God had created me. My eyes were opened. I could even in my adolescence look up from my narrow perspective. I could listen. I could see stars. I could be led by the light of God’s love. I felt a bit of God’s delight grow within me. I loved this. I loved adventure. I loved risk. I loved new experiences and challenges. I even loved….a rat in the roof.

© Copyright 2011 alwayssimplybegin | Katie Sciba. All Rights Reserved.

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