Dorothy Was Puzzled

 

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Description automatically generatedDorothy was puzzled and more than a little alarmed. She hadn’t seen Marcus for several days, but worse, she hadn’t seen anyone else either. There hadn’t been any human presence in church for weeks, and she couldn’t understand it. Where was everybody? There were always days when the church was virtually deserted, but never for weeks on end like this. Although it was actually quite nice having the church to herself (it was her home after all), without human beings coming in chomping on biscuits after the service each week, there were no crumbs. And no crumbs meant no food for a little elderly mouse.

 

Dorothy wondered whether God had moved out? Or whether she had done something to upset God? Wasn’t God supposed to protect all creatures, particularly humans and church mice? Why had God forgotten her?

 

With no food, Dorothy barely had the energy to crawl over to her patch of sunlight on the church floor, but once there she felt something tickle her little pink ear. Marcus! Dorothy was so relieved she wanted to hug him, but it was difficult for a little elderly mouse to hug a spider with eight legs so she contented herself with saying crossly, ‘Where have you been? Where is everyone?’

 

“Haven’t you heard? They’re all ill. Well, not all ill actually, but there’s this horrible virus which is spread from human to human and some of them are dying, so they all have to stay away from each other. That’s why the church has been closed and no one can come in.’

Dorothy gasped. ‘Is it a punishment from God, do you think? Have humans been so awful that God wants to wipe them from the earth?

 

Marcus resisted an urge to laugh. It wasn’t really fair to laugh at someone else’s beliefs, however erroneous they might be. But hadn’t Dorothy learned anything about God in all the years she’d been a church mouse? 

‘No, definitely not, Dorothy! You know God is love itself. Love couldn’t possibly wish anything as horrible as this on anyone or anything. In fact, God is right now helping humans to come up with some answers to the problem. God has the scientists working on producing a vaccine to protect people, and God would rather God’s house was shut than people getting ill through it.’

 

‘But God isn’t here!’ Dorothy’s voice rose to a wail. ‘I’m so hungry and I feel abandoned by God.’

 

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Marcus snorted. ‘You’ve been through many a winter with leaner times than this, Dorothy. And God doesn’t live in church, God lives in people (and church mice and church spiders too) and all around. God is everywhere. You just need to trust God, make this little sacrifice and have patience. All will be well, you’ll see. God never abandons anyone. Say a little prayer, keep the faith and just wait.’ 

So Dorothy did, and do you know, Marcus was right.

 

Dorothy Faces Her Fear

 

Dorothy, normally with fat little legs and a noticeably plump belly, could now only be described as skinny. Marcus feared it was more than that, she was gaunt. With nobody in church for months now, there was no food at all. Nobody to drop crumbs, no broken biscuits, and even the candles were no longer around. Someone had slipped into church and hidden them away in boxes so Dorothy was unable to access them.

 

She was literally starving and Marcus hated to see her wasting away like this. ‘Why don’t you pop outside, Dorothy? There may be something to scavenge outside in the churchyard, but if not, you could explore a few rubbish bins. And there must be seeds scattered about. Birds often drop seeds. Why don’t you try?’

 

Dorothy was frightened. She had only been outside the church on a couple of occasions before, and that for just a few minutes before she scurried back into safety. She knew her town and country cousins existed in the great outdoors, but she was alone and elderly, and the thought of venturing beyond the church terrified her. ‘Is this how refugees feel?’ she asked Marcus. ‘So hungry that they’d do anything to find food, but at the same time too scared to leave the only place of safety they know?’

 

‘I think it must be,’ Marcus replied gravely. ‘But it’s not only refugees. Since lockdown lots of people aren’t allowed to work so they have no money, and although the government gives them an allowance, it takes a while to come through. Food banks have been overwhelmed with people needing food.’

 

‘Are there food banks for mice?’ Dorothy asked hopefully.

 

Marcus grinned as best a spider could. ‘No Dorothy, you’ll have to find your own food. So be brave and go out into the churchyard. You’re so thin now you’ll easily squeeze under the big oak door. Ask God to help.’

 

So Dorothy sent up a heartfelt prayer, asking God to give her the strength and courage she needed. Then she took a deep breath, staggered over to the door as she was too weak to scurry, squeezed underneath and was soon out in the churchyard. There she immediately found some seeds on the gravel path, and lots of delicious plants to nibble. Quite forgetting her fear she ate until she was full before going back into the church.

 

‘If only I hadn’t given into my fear,’ she sighed, ‘I could have eaten like that every day. How strange it is that when I reach the end of my tether and am forced to rely solely on God, things eventually work out okay. From now on I’m going to try and rely more on God than on myself.’

 

And with that she found her little patch of sunlight on the church floor, curled her long tail around herself and fell contentedly asleep.

 

Janice B. Scott.