It amazes me how God uses little everyday events to illustrate great truths. This one had to do with a squirrel which was invading my new windowsill bird feeder. Hi appetite was so voracious that I had to refill the feeder at least twice a day just to keep him fed, and the birds were hardly getting any birdseed. Besides that, I had only a few brown sparrows, and I wanted so much to attract bright cardinals and finches and blue jays.
I began to see that squirrel as “the enemy.” He was, to me, like the disease of sexaholism, and I was trying harder and harder to outwit him, like a true codependent. I was “becoming irritable and unreasonable without knowing it.”
I stomped out the backyard with huge clipper and attacked the branches of the tree. I hacked at the bushes near the window ledge. I destroyed the squirrel’s launching pads. Now he couldn’t leap from the bushes and trees to devour my birdseed. All was quiet for a day or two. A couple of finches came. Then, out of nowhere, HE appeared. Losing my serenity completely, (it was during my morning meditation…I had been dreamily watching my finches, against the backdrop of gently waving [short] branches) I leaped up from the bed and banged on the window like a maniac, cursing and spluttering. The squirrel leaped to the ground.
Thus began a plunge into obsessive tunnel vision, rivaled only by my similar obsession with a recovering addict whom I love. My brain spun,“How does he do it?”and“I’m going to catch him at it!” and “He won’t outsmart me this time” and “If God loved me, He’d protect me from this.” I was insanely focused on the life and habit of the squirrel — as I had been on the people I knew and loved who sometimes disrupted my life and didn’t do things MY way.
While the squirrel fed on my birdseed, I fed anger and impatience and frustration into my morning meditation as time after time he’d appear out of nowhere … on my feeder … looking at me. As I lost my serenity, I tried acceptance. Love the little rascal, birdseed pig that he is, with his little faults. Ignore him. Detach with love. It didn’t work. I wanted BIRDS! Why else would I have bought a BIRDfeeder?
I finally caught him. He simply walked down the side of the house, as if the vertical wall of bricks were a horizontal patio. No mystery. He just walked in and ate.
I decided to take the matter up with a Power Greater Than Squirrels. I consulted the nice woman at Wild Birds Unlimited … the specialists. She said, so matter-of-factly, “If you don’t want squirrels, don’t give them what they like to eat. They hate safflower seed. Use that in your feeder. And by the way, the cardinals and finches love it.”
It worked! It really worked. The squirrel came two days in a row and turned up his nose and left! The cardinals came! The purple finches came! My bushes grew back! But more importantly, my serenity came back. And with it, this revelation … don’t feed this disease what it likes! It thrives on anger and frustration and bitterness and rage. Don’t feed the ‘ism’ in our homes … the enemy…what it loves, and it too will begin to go somewhere else to feed. I have applied this, if imperfectly, and have seen wonderful results in my relationships with the addicts I love. And the brighter, more cheerful thoughts I have are like the bright birds that now come to my windowsill feeder daily. Just yesterday I saw that squirrel barreling along the top of the tall fence with a walnut in his mouth nearly the size of a tennis ball. I felt genuine love for him as I smiled at him, “Bon appétit!”
Reprinted from the Fall 1992 issue of S-Anews©.