I don’t know anyone who has ever had an elephant in their house, but if you did I imagine it would be easy enough to find. Maybe not so easy to remove, but at least you would know where it is.
Crickets are different.
You see, I’ve had a cricket in my house for about a week. It hasn't bothered me much because it's downstairs, in the bathroom. My son and two daughters sleep downstairs and have complained about the cricket, but I couldn't hear it upstairs.
However, last Thursday after I took the kids to school, I sat down at the kitchen table. I had my coffee, devotional and Bible, and I was ready for some quiet time in God's Word. Today would take me into Philippians 4, a time to reflect on the peace and joy that God abundantly brings into our lives through our relationship in Him.
I opened my Bible.
Then I heard it. More like, I felt it. It was the cricket, but not just any cricket. This one must have had some sort of cricket amplification system hard-wired into its little hind legs. This was the loudest cricket south of the Mason-Dixon line.
I tried to focus on peace and joy, but all I could hear was the cricket. The complaining ache of noise. So I set down my coffee, closed my Bible, and headed downstairs. I was a gladiator poised for battle. Ready to annihilate my unsuspecting foe. Ready to quiet the naysayer.
I stepped one foot onto the linoleum bathroom floor ... and the chirping stopped.
That’s what I wanted. Silence. Obviously this little cricket knew who he was up against. I turned, ready to get back to my peace and joy, and headed upstairs.
Then I heard it again. The cricket resumed his taunt.
Ah, what a tricky opponent. But not to worry, I had a plan.
I re-approached the bathroom door, but this time I didn't step onto the linoleum. “Hey there little cricket," I said. "I’m not coming into the bathroom to get you. I’m just going back upstairs, so just keep singing. I’ll never know where you are.”
And that is exactly what he did. He launched right back into his 1,000-decibel chirping.
I prepared for stealth mode. I got down on all fours for hand-to-hand (do crickets have hands?) combat. I crept toward the deafening sound. It was coming from behind the toilet. I stuck my head behind the back of the throne and ...
Silence. But not the golden silence I was seeking. No, this was the victorious silence of a cricket who had brought a grown man in his pajamas to his knees. The war was on.
I waited. And waited.
Unwilling to admit defeat -- but very uncomfortable on the ground with my head wedged behind the porcelain -- I slowly stood up.
The chirping resumed.
Then I saw a putter lying beside the toilet. Apparently my 11-year-old son had also enough of our pesky guest, but had given up the fight somewhere along the way. As I reached for the golf club I realized where the sound was coming from.
It was in the wall. Yes, a little crack in the bottom of the baseboard had allowed an acoustic forum for an insect symphony to take residence in the house.
I pondered the situation, with the putter over my shoulder.
He was in the wall. I would have to tear it down. Would my homeowners' insurance cover this?
And then I stopped. The morning was ticking away, and God was still waiting at the kitchen table.
I was so focused on the annoying little cricket, that I was missing out on my really big need to spend time with Him.
Michael Vaughn is pastor at Embreeville UMC in the Johnson City District. He also is a freelance writer whose syndicated columns ("Go Ask Dad," "Weird World of Sports") have appeared in area newspapers and magazines.