Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Learning to live (like a squirrel)

Like a squirrel? Are you nuts? Well, maybe a little but finish reading  the entire post before making an evaluation of my mental state. As I go on to describe this, I know you will think it sounds kind of Disneyesque or maybe even contrived. All I can say is that it is all true and there are lessons to be learned if you stick with me.

You see, we have a bird feeder that hangs from a branch on a tree out back. We watch the animals from the deck or through the kitchen window. Whenever we fill it up, we  also sprinkle some feed on the ground and the squirrels and rabbits show up to  snack. When the birds feed, they make a mess spilling it onto the ground as kind of a bonus for the congregating rodents below. (For my wife's benefit, please note with all sincerity that the term rodent is being used in a purely "Animal Planet" phylum/genus kind of way, not in a derogatory manner.)

We soon realized we could learn a lot from a squirrel. I am not talking about all squirrels or even squirrels in general. Just one, different and specific squirrel.  A lone, black squirrel.  For almost two years our back yard has been visited by several gray squirrels at a time, but one day this particular squirrel arrived on the scene and really shook things up in the world of squirrel. When I say different, I don't just mean in appearance, I mean in attitude. 

Up to this point, all of the squirrels were content getting their food from the ground. That's even what the new guy did when he showed up.  But it didn't take long for him to start looking up at the bird feeder, the source, seeming to ponder the possibilities. "Why do I have to wait for the food to come to me? Why can't I go get it? What's stopping me?" And that's when things changed. We watched for several days. While the other squirrels kept their faces buried in the grass, scavenging, this one would frequently look up almost longingly at the floating storehouse above. 

Apparently he couldn't take it any longer because one morning he climbed the tree, jumped onto the roof of the garage, jumped onto the branch holding the birdfeeder and climbed straight down to it. He gripped the plastic feeder, slipped, and fell the 6 feet to the ground. He climbed back up the tree, and started the process again. 

It took a few tries, but pretty soon he was mastering it, holding on upside down with his back legs and pulling the food out with his front paws. I am assuming that's what you call squirrel hands... paws. He had this entire feeder, to himself. No foraging, just him and the source. And whenever it was emptied, it would miraculously fill back up. Okay, it wasn't really a miracle. It was Deborah or I filling it up so we could continue enjoying the show, but to a squirrel, maybe it seemed miraculous.

Now, during his failed attempts, his furry friends didn't pay him any attention, other than to look up at him every now and then, probably trying to figure out his game. As a matter of fact, they never really paid attention to him before then either. On hindsight, they had been kind of stand-offish with him since his arrival. After all, he was different. Who can really know the thoughts of a squirrel? And by the way, when  A.D.D. squirrels' get distracted, do the other squirrels mock him with cries of "Human!"? (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) My guess is if these particular squirrels were people they were probably thinking that he was a bit crazy and acting weird. 

Of course, once he started missing the ground level feeding frenzy because he had it made, literally in the shade, they were like "Wow! What a great idea. I wonder if I could do that, too?" There were probably some who were thinking, "Hey, why does he get to eat from that thing, all by himself. That's not fair." But since this post isn't about capitalist squirrels vs socialsist squirrels, I am only going to focus on the positive. Some of the squirrels began taking turns at the source and others stayed on the ground, apparently unwilling to take the risk but willing to catch the falling crumbs.

What does any of this have to do with anything my prior posts?  Well, for starters, this squirrel was not content with living a meager existence, simply hoping to catch falling millet that the birds happened to drop down to him. He wanted more and when he found that there was a source for better living he jumped at it. He even failed at first, but kept trying until he got the hang of it. And he didn't seem to mind that he was different, or let the crowd hold him back.

Secondly, when he did better for himself, the squirrels that remained below were blessed because his blessings spilled over. And those that followed him up, found that being closer to the source was much better than foraging on their own. 

I ask you this... Are you content with your circumstances, existing and foraging, or do you want better... more? How close are you to the source? Are you willing to risk, in order to live better? And finally, are you willing to take others with you or will you keep it all to yourself? I want share my source with you. The way to get to Him, is through His son, Jesus. And He doesn't go on vacation, leaving me to fend for myself, the way the squirrels have to, when I go away. If you want more detail, contact me.

If you enjoyed this post, let me know. Share with others, subscribe to future posts and make comments. If you would like me to perform, or speak to your group or church, please contact me at 419-961-1265,, or check out my website at

No comments:

Post a Comment