An animal has been stuck in our wall in our upstairs bathroom since yesterday. We’ve heard it scratching and clawing and, what sounded like, fluttering around. Sometimes it seemed too heavy to be a bird, but I swore I could hear chirping and fluttering.
This morning, I called a critter removal place and found out that to have someone come out was $170 just for the house call… then $70 per animal they had to remove. Well, what if there were two? That’d be $310. I could find $3.10, even $31… but get that decimal point any farther over, and there would be a problem. So, I prayed. “Lord, please get that poor critter safely out of there.”
Time went on. I heard it desperately trying to scratch and climb its way to freedom, but to no avail. “Lord, please get that little critter out of our wall and safely back outside.” I pressed my ear against the wall, listening.
Flutter. Scratch. Flutter.
It must be a bird. Yes, I was certain it was a bird. I left the bathroom and went about my morning. Then I went to check on it again. The movement was more constant. More desperate. Suddenly, a thought struck me: the only thing between that bird and freedom was dry wall. My dad’s a carpenter, and even if he was busy, Robert could cut a hole in the wall.
Yes. I felt hopeful.
But they’re at work.
Right. I felt helpless.
Then I thought I could just wait for them to get home from work and propose the “let’s just handle this ourselves” plan. But it wouldn’t be until hours later. I sighed. What was I supposed to do? The thought of that poor thing suffering any longer was too much. Then another thought struck me: there was no reason I couldn’t cut the drywall out and set it free. Whatever it was. The realization was there that this could be something other than a bird, but not strong enough to deter me from this new plan.
I went to the garage and found a set of electric tools, including a saw that I thought might work. Wow, I don’t even know how to put the blades in this thing, I thought. I looked for a hand saw. Too big and wide. I found a smaller, electric saw, but it only had one blade and I doubted its ability to cut the drywall smoothly. Determined, I thought about my options. There were only a few. So, I did the only thing a person in my situation could do. I went to the kitchen and got a smooth-edged knife (for its ability to puncture the drywall and give me a place to start sawing), a couple of steak knives (at different levels of dullness) for sawing, and then back out to the garage for a mallet, a flat-head screw driver, and a pair of work gloves in case it wasn’t a bird and was indeed something more likely to bite me. The verse God led me to just the previous day came to mind. 2 Samuel 23:5, “For will He not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?” And I prayed, “God, please let the work of my hands prosper and succeed. This won’t work without You.”
With my rescue tools in my hands, I went to the bathroom and shooed away the two cats sitting there wanting to eat what was trapped on the other side of the wall. Let’s just say, I gave up on the electric saw and had to resort to cutting open the drywall with knives … hitting the flat-edged knife with the mallet to create openings and then sawing with the steak knife. I am not proud that I had to cut open drywall with kitchen utensils. But I am not ashamed either. I am an artist and a writer, not a carpenter. After I followed the patch that had been there before to address issues with the pipes, I realized only after I got the patch open that there was a stud blocking the left side of the opening. Drat. The critter was back that direction. This whole time, my two boys were watching their mother saw open the wall with kitchen knives, waiting excitedly for what we were setting free.
As I cut farther left into the wall, out flapped this poor startled, hungry bird, which flew immediately to the window. I had thought whatever was in there might wait until I left the bathroom, and had planned to open the window just before leaving. Instead, this poor thing was so ready to leave its prison, likely traumatized by the hammering and sawing and electric saw attempts to set it free, that it flew out while I was still working on the next portion of drywall. Startled, the boys ran out of the bathroom and the bird flew behind the toilet to regroup. In that moment of silence, I called the boys back into the bathroom, shut the door again (cats, remember?), and then opened the bathroom window. In the space of a heartbeat, the bird flew up and out to his freedom.
The boys named the bird, of course. Sweet Tweets. And I realized there was a spiritual lesson in this. Sometimes, the answer to our prayers is closer than we think, it may employ the use of unconventional methods, and we may be the very ones called to do the work.