Lesson from Twixie  

Posted by mindyluwho

Twixie is our hamster. She was named so because she is white, chocolate and carmel colored and reminded us of a Twix bar. She lives in a glass house, meaning she lives in a fish aquarium that's been converted to a hamster dwelling complete with soft bedding, a little pink couch and a spinning wheel. You'd think that's all a hamster needs to be happy. But not Twixie. She spends all of her waking time trying to get out. When we first got her she had a cute little wooden house in there so that when she got tired of being stared at she could go for privacy. But she didn't use it for that. She would get up on top of her box and push at the screen that was on top of her aquarium. We had to put a book on there so that she wouldn't push it off and climb out. One day we noticed a hole in the screen. Twixie had climbed up on her house and chewed the screen in her attempts to escape. We had to take the house out for fear of waking up one day to find she'd broken out. We've thought about renaming her Twixie Pettigrew. We've checked her toes to make sure she wasn't missing one, but she has all ten.

She has a little routine she follows over and over again. She first stands on her hind legs and tries to climb up the walls. She makes her way around the whole cage this way. Then she tries to climb up the outside of the spinning wheel, only to run and run until she finally falls down. She climbs up on the edge of her food bowl in the hopes that she can reach the top of the cage. She has a little water bottle that hangs inside. She stands on her hind legs and grabs hold with her paws and tries to pull herself up. It's really sad to watch her. She's obviously extremely unhappy with her present circumstances. I don't blame her. Her owner (my daughter) doesn't clean her cage as often as needed, so it is smelly and unpleasant.

Tonight I felt so sorry for her that I thought I'd help her out. I put a towel out on the floor and blocked off a nice large area that she would be able to run around in. I helped her out by holding the spinning wheel still so that she could climb out onto my hand. She was so excited to be out of that place! I was excited for her. I took her over to her nice big spot and set her down. I thought she's be so happy. I thought maybe she'd run around and do a little hamster dance, perhaps click her heels together in ecstacy or something. What did she do? Well, she immediately started looking for a way out. I watched her for awhile as she went from wall to wall and corner to corner trying to find an escape. I was sad for her. After awhile I took her back to her aquarium. She ran around for a little while,then finally went to her little corner where she's pushed all the bedding, burrowed in and fell asleep.

As you know, we've just moved. Our other house was a nice big house, but it was a frustrating one to live in. There was just something about the set up that made it a difficult house to keep in order. And it seemed like there was no end to the squabbling between the kids...and the parents. Not all the time, but enough to make it very frustrating. We were only supposed to live there a couple of years while we built our "dream home", but two years turned into four and we just couldn't take it anymore. As much as we hated the thought of moving, we hated even more the thought of staying there even one more month. So we checked on Craigslist daily until we found a house that would be the perfect place for us. After an ardous two weeks of hell (moving), we are finally (somewhat) settled in. It's a beautiful house with lots of space to spread out. My kids all have their own room except for the youngest two. My girls and I will have a dedicated craft/sewing room! We are very blessed.

And yet.

It's not home.

You see, I have been dreaming of my "home" for years. Over five years ago we purchased some acerage. We split it into three parcels with the intention of selling off two and building our "dream home" on the third. We've sold one piece, but are still waiting to sell the other. We've been waiting for four years now. We even have the house plans drawn up but we can't afford to build until we sell that last parcel. So "my home" lives in my mind. When I cook, I think about how "my home" has a much better kitchen. When I pick up a book off the bookshelf I think about how "my home" has a library. When I set the table I think about how "my home" has a beautiful dining room with a fireplace and a gorgeous view out the bay window. "My home" has a huge "great room" with a beautiful fireplace. "My home" has rustic hardwood floors, and an orchard, and a garden, and...........

As I watched Twixie run around in the new spot that I had created for her I wondered what she was thinking. What did she think she would happen if she were able to crawl over the barrier I had erected for her? I knew what would happen. She wouldn't stop to enjoy what was on the other side. She would keep running until she found another barrier, and then she would look for a way over that one. She would never be happy.

"My home" is an elusive place that exists only in my mind. When I am feeling like I can't cope anymore I retreat to it. But that's counter-productive. I'm forever trying to escape to it and in doing so I am missing out on so much that is real. Tonight I learned a valuable lesson. While I haven't been given what I want, I have been given what I need...more than what I need actually. I have been blessed in abundance. And even if I hadn't been blessed with such a beautiful house, I already had all the blessings I need. I have six beautiful and intelligent children and a husband who is patient beyond measure with me. "My home"has been here all along. Heavenly Father has just blessed me with a larger place in which to establish it.

I'm sorry for Twixie. I don't think she will ever be happy. But I will.

And now. I think I'll take another cue from Twixie and go burrow under my covers.

Good night!

This entry was posted on Feb 23, 2009 at Monday, February 23, 2009 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

6 said...

Great post! I tend to neglect our home because it is a temporary home until we build our house. It has been temporary for 9 years now! I've started a major "spring" cleaning because temporary or not, it is our home and a good cleaning is overdue.
I often think about how life will be in our new home. It will really be the same with six wonderful children and a great husband, like you. :-)...but with a bit more space, which we could use!

February 23, 2009 at 5:35 AM

i love how you saw the parallel between twixie and your own dreams of a different home. i really hope you get to have that home someday--it sounds wonderful. but you are right--it's not the home that will make you happy. what you need to be happy, you already have.

as always, you inspire me.

February 25, 2009 at 6:10 PM

This is a wonderful post! Such an amazing object lesson! :)

February 26, 2009 at 5:53 AM

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY, my friend! Hope it's full of fun and surprises and CAKE! :D

February 26, 2009 at 5:54 AM

I had to laugh at "Twixie Pettigrew" since "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" is on TV right now.

I love, LOVE this post. I too have been guilty of trying to look beyond what I have. I have been grateful in my mind, but not in my heart or actions. That's one of the main reasons why I'm working so hard at making my home beautiful and comfortable NOW instead of just waiting until everything magically gets better. There are things I would change about my house, but when I actually focus on making it better it feels so much more like my home because I'm comfortable in it.

Thank you for sharing.

March 6, 2009 at 7:57 PM

Great post. I have struggled with loving this house because it is so much smaller and older than our previous houses. But we have done a lot of work on it and learned to live with less junk. Sometimes I still hate to clean parts of it because they are not the way I want them to be yet, but when I finally break down and do clean, I realize how nice it really can be just as is.

March 8, 2009 at 9:07 PM

Post a Comment