By Nettie H. Francis

Those who are willing to get in the trenches and fight for family and marriage, please attend the Stand for the Family rally at the Utah State Capitol, Thursday night at 7:00. Utah has the privilege to represent marriage in the courts, and we want to demonstrate that we stand behind this critically important institution.

“To everything there is a season, and a time…” This is a time for trenches.

Trenches aren’t pretty. They are generally dug into the mud. Long, dirty places to take refuge in and fight the enemy from a close distance. World War I was a war of trenches. Many of the battles and victories were fought and determined by the individuals in the dirt. The commanders and generals lived and gave orders from places removed. Places cleaner and safer. But the real soldiers were in the trenches.

I recently had a trench experience. A mouse (or two or three) took up residence in our house. Actually, in my bedroom wall.

“There’s a mouse in our house,” I told my husband one evening. I naturally assumed that he would take care of Mr. Mouse and that would be the end of my problem. But my husband was busy, and hadn’t actually heard the mouse himself. So, I waited. Soon, there were more mice. 

“There are mice in this house,” I told my husband again. 

“Time to call pest control,” he offered.

And so, I did.

They pulled up in a very “mouse aware” car, and came in dressed as experts. They scratched their heads, pulled their beards, and strolled around our house peering into a few crannies. “This will cost money,” they finally concluded. But I was ready to pay. I filled out my check and tucked my signed contract into my file drawer. I slept peacefully that night (despite continued scratching in the wall).

One week passed. Then two, then three, then ten.

“We still have mice,” I reported on the phone.

The pest people came out again, strolled around the house, stroked their beards, and concluded, “We can’t hear anything.”

“At night!” I told them. However, they were home sleeping peacefully at night. But I wasn’t.

That’s when I knew, it was trench time. Time to leave the captain’s chair and the headquarters comfort I had enjoyed and go into the trenches. No one was going to fight my battle for me.

I armed myself with gloves, a flashlight, and a mask, and delved into the dark crevices of the crawl space where no pest control king had dared to go. Yep, there were the droppings, the shavings, the signs of my enemy. I poked, I prodded, I filled, I cleaned. Being in the trenches wasn’t easy or fun. It was the exact opposite. Nasty, difficult, grimy. But I knew it was absolutely necessary for victory. No one cared about my home like I did.

Mice are the least of our house worries right now. More pesky problems are calling our names. Noises in the night slowly eroding our Constitution, our traditional values, our inalienable rights. It’s easiest to sit back in the captain’s chair, making suggestions, offering ideas. We could even hire a pest control company and feel satisfied once our check is in the mail. But that will not be enough to protect us, or our beloved nation.

No, it is trench time. It is time for every concerned citizen who values families, children, and God, to climb down into the trenches. It is time to gather on the front lines, with our voices, with our writings, with our votes. It is time to find strength in numbers from other parents and families who read the Bible and believe that America is a nation established under God.

Naysayers will tell us that our actions won’t make a difference.  “You live in the country, and mice are inevitable,” I’ve heard before.  “Traditional times are gone, just accept what is coming,” the media (and even good friends) often call to us. “You’re too busy, and one more voice won’t change things,” I’ve heard.

But I douse those feelings with a louder conscience, “It makes a difference to this one,” I say out loud as I fill a mouse-chewed hole, or put fresh screen across my vents.

“You are discriminating against innocent mice!” animal lovers might protest.

“No, I am securing my own rights,” I would respond.  “This is where I live.  I paid the price to be here and I am ultimately responsible to strengthen the foundations of my home.”

My battle with mice is not over.  In fact, fall is coming, and I recently heard a scratching noise again.  But I know what to do. I went down to the crawl space yesterday.  I re-secured my wire.  I put fresh steel wool in cracks.  We even bought a cat.

And what about the battle for families, children, and marriage?  There is more scratching in the walls.  There are more lawsuits eroding traditional rights, and laws reducing parental choices. There are parades on the streets and disagreements on Facebook.  And even a potential Supreme Court decision on the case.  We must be more vigilant now than ever.

One thing that Utahns can do is to attend the “Stand for the Family” rally at the Utah State Capitol building this Thursday, September 18th, 7pm. The rally is a dignified event including speakers from around the nation, musical numbers, and information about why and how we can stand for the family. In Paris, France, when a similar rally was held in support of traditional marriage, over one million people showed up. Will the world see such a display of support from Utah, the most “conservative, family-friendly state” in the nation? Thirty-one states are also depending on us to defend our people-driven definition of marriage.

Being in the trenches is not fun. It is dirty and tiring and inconvenient. It requires hard choices. We cannot hire others to fight this battle for us.  We must truly care ourselves. Despite the mud, we must remain civil and respectful, but firm.

We must be willing to sacrifice time and pride to say and do what needs to be done to protect our homes.

All of the easy things have been done, and the simple times are past. Now is the time for trenches.