REFLECTIONS: Gophers in the basement

Our basement is a glorified crawl space with a ceiling about 5 ¢ feet high. Even so, we did build shelves there to store extra canned goods, cereal, toilet paper and Christmas decorations. On the outside of the house, the window wells are surprisingly deep so, my husband covered them, cutting the metal cover to match the old, un-even cement. This summer we poured new cement and then reset the old window well cover…without giving thought to the uneven edge against the new, level cement.

One evening during a family meal a dog, who was along with a family member, became excited about something in the yard. Upon investigation, we found that a gopher had taken up residence in temporarily removed downspouts. As the dog sniffed around, the gopher decided to make a break for it. He dashed from the downspout, between my legs and around the corner of the house squeezing through the uneven edge just in time to escape the dog! Assuming the gopher was trapped in the window well, we removed the cover. However, there was no gopher and then we discovered that the basement window was not latched! We led the dog to the basement to help us search. Even though the dog followed the gopher’s entrance path, we could not find the gopher. Therefore, before we went to bed, we gathered some plastic tubs from storage and placed packaged foods in them so that the gopher would not ruin them.

The next morning as I carried a basket of wet laundry to the clothes line I noticed a different window well cover bounce again and again… We decided that it had to be that gopher. We loosened the cover and spread some flour around the “escape route” hoping to see foot prints. I never saw him leave but neither have I seen (or smelled!) any evidence of his presence in the basement.

Just as we don’t want gophers in our basement, there are things we should not allow into our minds. The Bible indicates a relationship between what goes into our minds and what comes out; especially in our language. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34b)

When that gopher went into my basement a rose bush did not come out. In the same way, if we put unhealthy language and lewd or violent pictures into our heads from video games, books, TV programs or the internet, that is what will eventually come out in our words, attitudes and probably in our actions! Unfortunately, getting those pictures and words out of our minds is a lot harder than getting rid of a gopher. We need to focus on keeping our hearts and minds protected, latched from the inside, only letting in good things. “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

In case you wondered, our basement windows are now securely latched!

Helen and her husband, David, are members of Wycliffe Bible Translators and serve from their home in Minot.

Reflections, a mini-sermon written by Minot and area clergy, will appear each Saturday in The Minot Daily News. Clergy interested in writing a mini-sermon should contact Andrea Johnson at 857-1945 or