THE CIRCLE MOUSE
It’s amazing how God can glorify Himself through a little mouse. I think you’ll get a chuckle or two out of this testimony, because it brought a lot of laughter to those who were a part of it. I hope it also reveals a side of God we sometimes don’t think much about. God concerns Himself with mice ... even.
The year was 1989. I was employed at Ameritech, the phone company in Michigan at the time. It had been an extremely hot summer. The temperatures were pushing 100 degrees that August: it had been that way for a number of days.
My job was to mark buried phone cables so excavating contractors would know where they were located so as they would not accidentally damage them when they dug up the ground. I was marking phone lines that particular afternoon south of Grand Haven, on Buchanan Ave, west of U.S. 31. I had an address to mark on the south side of Buchanan – a house by itself in the country. I went to knock on the door of the house to try to ask what kind of work was going to be done, and as I walked up the driveway, something rather strange caught my attention.
A small object was moving in a circle in front of the house on the scorching hot asphalt driveway, and my first thought was that there must be a kid operating a remote control toy of some sort, except I couldn’t see the child. I stepped closer to the circling object and saw that it was a mouse. I was certain it had to be a toy mouse, because a live mouse surely wouldn’t be running in a circle in the heat of the day pushing almost 100 degrees, with the humidly factor putting it much higher than that.
Looking closer … I realized it was not a toy mouse, but a real one. Must be having heat stroke, I thought to myself -- poor little thing.
I knocked on the door but no one answered. The mouse was running in a circle of about a two-foot radius. It wasn’t running all that fast; just one steady pace, but not slowing down in the least either.
A boat and trailer was parked at the edge of the driveway and I sat down on the trailer hitch. I was due for my afternoon break so I decided I’d just sit there and see how long this little fella’ could run in a circle before he toppled over from heat exhaustion.
Round and around he ran, running the same clockwise direction … wobbly a little now and then, but nevertheless … determined to either commit suicide by heat exhaustion … Or … wait a minute, I thought to myself. Maybe he has eaten some mouse poison, and it’s causing him to go out of his head? Or, maybe he just needs a drink of cool water – suppose?
Some telephone employees have an item on their phone trucks called a “Sit- Down Box.” It is a box you sit on when you splice telephone cables or work in telephone pedestals. It is partially opened at the top so you can put trash in it while you sit on it. When you get back to the phone garage at night, you empty the trash in a trash bin. I seldom used it on my job, but I carried one just the same. I got the sit-down box and my big scoop shovel off my truck and went back to the mouse. Round and round he trotted in the baking heat … running himself to death.
I scooped him up but he ran out of the shovel – hit the asphalt and started running like nothing had ever happened. I scooped him up a couple of more times until I timed it right – letting him run off the shovel, but when he hit the ground, he landed inside the sit-down box. Awh … now he couldn’t escape.
Inside the roughly foot and a half by foot and a half sit-down box, he never stopped running. Running clockwise as he was on the asphalt, he evidently had to be out of his head. Either that, or training for a mouse marathon of some sort.
I put a lid full of water in the box but he totally ignored it. I shoved the lid in front of his path, but that didn’t so much as even slow him down. He ran right over the lid – through the water – as though it wasn’t even there! Incredible – I thought to myself.
Part of me thought the humane thing to do would be to put him out of his misery. Yet another part of me thought he should be given a chance to survive. Maybe if he was just put in a cool place for the night he would survive? I decided I would take him home and put him on my cool basement floor for the night and see if that would help … if he lived that long.
Each time I drove to a knew job, I got out of my truck and walked to the back where the sit-down box was, expecting the poor little guy to be lying on his back, gasping for his last breath of air, or more likely, completely expired. Not so! He was running inside that box every bit as lively as when I first put him in there.
On my way back to the phone garage later that evening, I stopped at a convenience store and bought a package of cheese and crackers. I broke some pieces off and put that in there with the water, but he completely ignored that as well.
At the garage I showed Denny Hettig, my very good friend and cable locating partner, my “Circle Mouse.”
“Hey Denny … you’ll never guess what I have trained a mouse to do. I can yell “Circle!” to this mouse I found, and he obeys me every time. Wanna’ see?”
Denny no doubt thought the heat had affected my brain. “You have a WHAT kind of mouse?” he asked skeptically.
I had taped a cardboard lid over the opening of the sit-down box to offer the mouse some shade, so while Denny stood looking down at the closed lid, I said with authority: “Circle … mouse!”
Quickly I opened the cardboard flap, and you guessed it … round and around that little mouse ran, still not slowing down a beat.
“Well I’d be darned,” Denny muttered. “Neatest thing I’ve seen all day. Now tell me what’s wrong with the mouse.”
I told him the story. He snickered, then asked what I was going to do with it. I told him I was going to take it home and see if I could revive it overnight. He didn’t think my wife would be to pleased with the idea. (He was right, by the way).
“Betcha it won’t make daybreak,” Denny wagered.
“This mouse has endurance, buddy, I’m telling you. I’ll bet you two Egg McMuffins he’ll be running fine tomorrow morning.”
“You’ve got a bet. I won’t eat breakfast before coming to work.”
I put him in the cool of our basement and just before bedtime I checked in on him one last time. Round and around … not slowing down in the least.
He had all the water spilled from the lid and the cracker and cheese was all soggy from the spilled water, yet he wasn’t interested in eating or drinking. I pretty much resigned myself in having to lose the bet. There was no way this “tormented” mouse could possibly survive.
Next morning I wasn’t too anxious to find my circle mouse dead, but it had to be dealt with. I couldn’t leave a dead mouse for my wife to be concerned about.
I opened up the cardboard flap, and unbelievably … round and around he was running. Same direction – same speed. This is too much … I said to Kathleen, my wife. “This mouse is just starting get in shape!”
Now for the hilarious part. I got to work a little earlier than usual and put the sit-down box on a shelf in the meeting room where we drank coffee and got our work assignments befor driving off to our first job of the day. I stuck a cup nearby for donations, and a sign near the box that read:
SEE THE CIRCLE MOUSE CIRCLE ON MY COMMAND. Only five Cents!
The first person to come in was extremely skeptical of being taken for a nickel. I couldn’t blame him. Finally … he decided to “fall for the scam” and came up with a nickel to find out what the “catch” was.
“Are you ready? Okay … ‘CIRCLE … Mouse!’” I quickly opened up the cardboard flap, and sure enough, round and around the little guy ran. I was so thankful the little guy didn’t poop out on me at that moment.
As the guys kept showing up, each paid a nickel to see if the mouse would not obey my command to circle. Each time I lifted the flap after a nickel was dropped in the cup … round and around the little guy ran.
Denny finally showed and he could tell by everyone’s laugher he was going to be out two Egg McMuffins. “Isn’t that something … he chuckled with a grin. “You need to take that mouse and enter him in a circus.”
Woody Knoll was our supervisor. Woody walked into the room to give us our work and several of the guys brought to his attention the Circle Mouse. Evidently he wasn’t having a very good morning, because instead of paying his nickel to see the mouse circle, he just opened up the cardboard flap, saw the mouse running, and said, “Would you take this mouse outside Norm and put him out of his misery? We have phone work to do – not playing with a stupid mouse that is sick in the head.”
That put a damper on the whole scene, so I took my mouse and left. I kept him in the back of my phone truck the whole day, and I am not kidding you … every time I stopped at a new address to mark phone cables, I would open that flap and wouldn’t you know … round and around in circles he was running, just like the day before! Not ONCE did I catch him taking a breather – not ONCE.
However, I wasn’t about to kill the little fella'. He deserved every chance to live, for the bravery he had shown, and for the laughter he had brought us. I took him home that night and put him back in the cool basement. I gave him cheese and fresh water.
Now here comes the glorious part in this whole story. I happened to share this whole episode that night with my next door neighbor, Cinda. She asked me what I was going to do with the mouse. I had never witnessed the gospel with Cinda up to that moment. God simply had not come up. When she asked me what I was going to do, the strong thought came to me to ask her if she would join me in prayer, and we would ask the Lord and believe Him together to completely heal the little guy that night, so I could turn him loose and he could go free.
Cinda suddenly got very uneasy. I could tell she was suddenly out of her comfort zone. Then … out of nowhere … she began to gush forth with questions about God. She eventually began to share that she was raised in a denomination that she was no longer comfortable with regarding many of their beliefs. She shared many of her frustrations with Christianity, because of events that had happened to her in that denomination. I could tell that she was not aware that Christianity is not about being a part of a denomination, following their rules, but it’s about a personal relationship with the living God. It’s about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Out of that personal relationship all other things fall into place: where one goes to church; what one believes; etc. Cinda hung on my every word, as the Holy Spirit gave me just the right words to say to her. I ended up sharing my full-length born again testimony with her, and she ended up crying, she was so moved by God. She ended up saying that she needed to get right with God, because she wasn’t right with Him.
It was an incredible evening. I must have spent four hours sharing with her about truths of the Lord. Finally, when it was time to go to bed, I asked her again if she would join in with me and pray for the mouse. She said she would, though she wasn’t very confident her prayers meant all that much to God. I assured her they were.
The next morning I checked our circle mouse. He passively was nibbling cheese! Much of the water had been drunk. He was now in his right mind again, it appeared. I left him in the basement and drove to work. All the guys at work cheered.
Though this has little to do with the story, that morning Denny Hettig, Terry Jones and I … we being the three Cable Locators on our crew … we walked into Woody’s office before he could bring our work out to us in the coffee room. We started walking in a circle in front of him without saying a word. He asked, “What are you clowns up to now?”
We replied, “We can’t go to work today, boss. We have CMS. We can’t stop walking in circles.”
“And what is CMS?” he asked, without cracking a smile.
“Circle Mouse Syndrome. Word has it that the Communists have injected mice with the CMS virus. As you know, the mice build their homes in the telephone boxes, and when telephone workers work inside those boxes and get bit by a mouse, they become infected with the CMS virus. It’s a Communist plot to destroy the telecommunications system in America by everyone walking in circles until they collapse.”
Woody still wouldn’t crack a smile. “You clowns get your work and get out of here, would you? You and that stupid mouse anyway.”
When I got home from work that evening, I checked my circle mouse. He was motionless in the box. Much of the cheese had been eaten, and he looked quite content. I walked over and told Cinda our prayers had been heard and responded favorably to. Cinda was overjoyed! We turned the mouse loose near an old abandoned junk car in a field out back. He quickly scampered underneath the car to safety. That was the last we ever saw of him … or her.
We prayed a prayer that God would watch over him, and let him live out his or her life in peace.
Cinda got more serious about the Lord after that, and moved away not long after. We lost touch. A few years later, a subdivision was built where that old car sat, and so when I get to heaven, I want to ask God what happened to our circle mouse after we released him to safety. Suppose the Lord will start walking in a circle before answering me?
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"And this gospel of
the kingdom [Jesus
died for sinners] shall be preached in all the world for a
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(Quote from Jesus Himself: Matthew 24:14).
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