These first few blogs are similar to the first day of school. Do you remember that, Dear Reader? That first day of school, everything was new and shiny and needed a few explanations from the teacher. For a few years when I taught third grade, my school system began the school year on a Friday. Many parents hated it. They said it ruined their last weekend of summer vacation with their kids. As a teacher, I loved it. Let’s take one day where we can just plow through everything we need to get through and then come Monday, we will start all fresh and new and on track so we can begin for real.
Anyway, that’s my analogy for these initial two blog posts.
As you can very well read, I’ve chosen “Squirrel Chatter” for my blog name. Why I chose the word “chatter” is probably the most obvious. If you’ve ever had a conversation with me, you’ve determined quickly, I’m a talker. This is why my family never lets me go into Wal-Mart by myself. In a small town where I know a lot of people, one family member always accompanies me to “keep me moving” through the aisles. And in another not-so-shocking truth, in elementary school, there was only one thing which got me in trouble.
Funny thing is, I went on to do a lot of acting, teaching third grade, and telling large groups of kids about Jesus every Sunday, so the talking thing really came in handy. What my second grade teacher saw as a liability actually became an asset in my life. Go figure. You see, it’s that chatter that connects us to one another, and if we’re not connecting to one another here on Earth, well, isn’t that an awfully lonely life?
I chose the squirrel because the squirrel is fairly cute. Also, there’s no denying a squirrel is basically part of the vermin family. The squirrel is the best animal mascot choice to represent me. I like to think I’m put together and use my bushy tail (talents) to make myself a bit more presentable, but you can only gloss something up so much. The truth is, I have some vermin-like tendencies I’d prefer others didn’t see. I say stupid things. I mean for a situation to go one way, and then it takes a detour I didn’t see coming, heads south, and I don’t know what to do. I want people to judge me by my intentions rather than my words and actions.
And, oh yeah, I’m a little nuts.
My senior year of college I lived off campus. My apartment was on the second floor of an old house, and right outside my bedroom windows lived a family of squirrels. They spent a large quantity of their time walking across the electrical lines which wove through the trees in my yard.
I didn’t understand why they didn’t stick to the trees and the ground. The wire was dangerous. The wire was scary. And most importantly, the wire required they walk across by faith and not by sight.
But over the years, I’ve realized why the squirrels did what they did. The tightrope wire was their life. It wasn’t always pleasant. There were parts of the journey which were incredibly perilous. Yet, the view was often wonderful and the lessons learned traversing across the wire left the squirrels stronger and better able to adapt.
In a way (OK, a very simplistic way) I feel a lot like that little squirrel on the wire. Maybe you do too, Dear Reader. Life is good, but life is hard. I had plans to gather nuts in this tree, but I never did make it to the tree where I thought I was going. There have been days of sunshine and days where the storms of life have beaten down so hard I didn’t know if I could keep scampering across the wire.
But I do. I keep going. And you do too. So I pray this blog will be an encouragement to you. I don’t want for one moment to pretend the tightrope you traverse on a daily basis is easy or constantly full of happiness in some fake fairy tale world. My tightrope isn’t either. Let’s be real.
But we do have a future and a hope at the end of the journey, so we are going to keep doing the best we can do every day, trying to live our Earthly lives offering ourselves and others grace, love, forgiveness, laughter, and encouragement.
Go squirrel, go! Thanks for letting me join you as we traverse the tightrope of life together.
Until next Wednesday, Lord willing, when I share a story about the self-proclaimed, “Mr. Superior Immune System.”