Time to Relocate

We are having a multiplying problem of ground squirrels. It’s hard to imagine why a squirrel would be a “problem”. Maybe I should think of this as an opportunity. Ground squirrels live in the ground! They dig big round holes at the doorways of their nest. These are just about the right size for the foot of a horse to fit into. Right now the only opportunity I am seeing is for one of my horses to break a leg stepping into one of their holes.

Our neighbors on both sides of us are shooting the squirrels. I’ve received all kinds of advice about which kind of gun to buy and why it works best. I’ve opted to buy two live animal traps instead and lure the squirrels into the cage with peanuts and then transport them across town to a large forested, unpopulated area to relocate. We call it our Squirrel Relocation Program. Hopefully we have not negatively affected the eco-system of Forest Park by introducing this new species of squirrels!

Last fall we relocated 32 squirrels. This spring we are up to 10. It’s interesting to talk to a squirrel about why you have just caught it and why you are taking it someplace new. They chatter at you and lunge at the side of the cage. I speak softly and tell it all of the reasons why this is a win-win situation for everyone involved. It doesn’t matter. They don’t get it.

There are times in life when things happen that I just don’t get. Tragedy strikes, financial difficulties arise, a job is lost—just fill in the blank. Now I’m not suggesting that God causes these events, I’m suggesting that whenever I find myself trapped in a situation and am racing about in fear, the Spirit shows up to try and calm me down and whisper all of the possibilities that exist in my future. How often do I quiet down long enough to listen and try to understand?

It is difficult to listen and remain calm in the midst of personal crisis. We feel compelled to do something. In reality, the only thing that will ever help us to make sense of some of life’s more challenging events is by being still and listening for the sane, calm voice of Spirit to teach us about the opportunities for learning and service available to us in every situation.

We don’t like to be relocated. We like the reality we are in and feel threatened when it is about to change. We even have the option of remaining in the cage and living there. Life is constantly nudging us to grow and move beyond the limitations of our current reality. We can become stuck and entrenched in belief systems that are black and white. They make us comfortable but shut out any opposing viewpoints. This can lead us to be hostile towards others and do things that are not in the best interest of everyone. In fact, this is the reason behind most wars—the resistance we have towards encompassing all with a greater worldview.

The challenge that God has in communicating with us is similar to the one I have communicating to an angry, scared squirrel in a cage. We don’t speak the same language. I do my best to communicate love, concern, and the fact that I have the best interests of this belligerent, feisty, little creature in mind, in spite of the fact that he does not have my best interests in mind or anyone else’s for that matter.

Of course, you don’t want to take this analogy too far. My picture of God is not one of someone who manipulates and maneuvers it’s creatures around in a cage—although that is the picture some people have of God. I think it is helpful to the extent that we understand that the intellect and knowledge and love of God abound infinitely more than the difference between the squirrel and us. We are the ones that put ourselves in a cage. Spirit is the one helping us to find a path to freedom and growth. God’s Relocation Program leads us from entrapment to total freedom. Sign me up!