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What We Want May Not Be What We Need

By Nick Raspanti

A rustling sound from the corner of my kitchen caught my attention, prompting me to pivot. A sizable gray rat was scurrying hurriedly into the shadows. What should I do? As a lifelong vegetarian and staunch opponent of animal cruelty, I had no desire to harm the creature, but I certainly wished to bid it farewell.

Rat in the house on the floorApproaching the stack of grain bins behind which the rat was hiding, I carefully displaced each one by one. As I moved the final bin, the rat seized the opportunity and darted away, this time vanishing beneath the kitchen sink.

“If I can just trap it,” I contemplated, “I can safely release it outdoors, which would suit each of us just fine.” A large plastic salad bowl became my makeshift trapping equipment. Opening the cabinet beneath the sink, anticipating success, I was surprised to discover it was empty.

Suddenly, I glimpsed a tail protruding from behind the sink—a sure sign the rat was now making its way to the countertop. I waited for the opportune moment, and as the creature scurried into sight, I swiftly clamped the bowl down over it. Victory! A long, gray tail poked out from beneath the bowl’s rim.

However, a new challenge emerged: how to transport the rodent from the bowl to the outside world? With caution, I grasped the empty kitchen trash can and nudged the bowl along the countertop toward it.

But as I attempted to dump the rat into the trash can, it acrobatically leaped over the rim, eluding capture, and bolted across the kitchen floor, seeking freedom.

Freedom from the UnknownDropping to my knees, I tracked my prey’s trajectory. It had vanished through a minuscule hole in the baseboard beside a utility cabinet. Determined, I stepped outside, circling to the opposite side of the water heater. Sure enough, the exterior wall revealed a tiny aperture that would have normally escaped my notice, obviously the point of entry.

After sealing the hole, I am delighted to report I’ve been undisturbed by vermin since that day. I pondered the intricate workings of the world. If I had successfully captured the rat in the trash can and released it outside, I would have remained ignorant of the hole. Only because the rat eluded capture had the gateway it had exploited been revealed. 

Sometimes, accepting that we may not obtain our desired outcome holds the key to attaining what we genuinely need.

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