A Squirrel and a Bluebird: Lessons from the Garden
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” ~ George Washington Carver
Her soft words floated through the air as if coming from a great distance, breaking into my dreams and arousing me from a deep sleep. “Jennifer…Jennifer…wake up! Cody has caught a squirrel and I don’t know what to do with it.”
Cody? Squirrel? Oh, no. My eyes snapped open and I saw my lovely mother standing outside my bedroom door with an anxious expression on her face. She was in town for a visit and had witnessed this early morning event in my backyard garden. Hurriedly, I threw on a robe and followed my mother outside. Indeed, there was my beautiful whippet, Cody, proudly prancing around the backyard with a lifeless squirrel clenched tightly in his mouth.
My heart broke for the poor little squirrel, yet I knew I needed to praise my dog, for he had done what was instinctual to his breed…sighthounds go after anything that moves. And believe me, Cody takes the job of squirrel patrol very seriously … this was not his first conquest. After praising him, we watched as he hurried off to bury his prize. I sighed. At least the squirrel got a decent burial! I am fairly certain that an immediate treetop alert went out to the squirrel population warning of a dangerous large, white predator in this yard, because the rest of the morning thankfully passed quite peacefully.
As my parents and I sat out in the garden visiting and enjoying the sunshine and ample breezes, my gaze wandered over to the acorn-shaped birdhouse that was currently occupied by a pair of bluebirds. With a thrill I saw that both birds were visible and I hopped out of my chair and hurried inside to grab my camera for a photo opportunity that had long eluded me. Mama bluebird watched contentedly out of the hole while her beautiful brilliant blue mate stood guard above her on top of the house. With one click, I captured the moment … what a great shot!
As I settled back into my chair, I marveled at the stark differences in the morning’s events. God’s creation is intricately balanced. The tragic demise of the squirrel was balanced by the promise of new life in the watchful bluebirds. As the breeze blew through the garden it carried with it God’s whisper … there is a lesson in these events, and watchfulness is key.
Watchfulness. Yes. The squirrel was frantically running about the yard, focused only on satisfying his selfish desires, gathering as much food as he could fit into his belly. He was not watching, and a very unpleasant circumstance caught him completely unaware. In contrast, the watchful bluebirds painted a picture of peace. Mama bluebird watched from her hole, content in the knowledge that her mate was there to protect her and their nest against any possible threats. The regal male, who reflected the color of the sky on his back, stood ever-vigilant, watching over his charges.
How very like the squirrel we can be, so focused upon our own lives, satisfying our most selfish desires, that we fail to see what is around us. We fail to see the needs of others, and we fail to see the approach of the Enemy. Unlike Cody, this Enemy is not acting on instinct. This Enemy acts with purpose--to derail us, to distract us, to tempt us, to keep us from knowing the peace that God offers.
I much prefer to live my life like the mama bluebird…to be watchful of the events and needs around me while having the glorious confidence that there is One who is ever-vigilant watching over me. In 1 Corinthians 16:13, the Apostle Paul counsels “Stay awake, stand firm in your faith, be brave, be strong.” (Common English Bible)
Courage, strength and peace are the blessings of a life lived under the watchful eye of the Regal King of Heaven, whose glory is reflected in all the earth.
Don’t be a squirrel. Be a bluebird.
Prayer ~ Father, let me take deep to into my heart the words of the psalmist, King David, who writes “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Let me live my life with a heart full of gratitude for your abiding presence and your steadfast love. In the name of Jesus Christ, my savior and protector, I offer this prayer to you. ~ Amen.
Reference Psalm 91.