The desk where I sit to read my Bible in the mornings is situated near a window that overlooks my backyard. Easily seen from this window is the birdfeeder built by my grandfather hanging from a black metal pole and the bird bath that once belonged to my grandmother.
I was reading from the Torah book of Leviticus when I became distracted by the antics of a squirrel at the hopper. As much as I tried to concentrate on God’s laws and festivals that Moses was describing, I just could not stay focused due to the hilarious activities outside my window.
Squirrels are amazing creatures. Because they can rotate their ankles 180 degrees, they can point their hind paws backwards which enables them to climb down trees head first. This ability also comes in handy for hanging off feeder ridges upside down while eating with their front paws, which is what my little friend was doing.
While the feeder gently swung back and forth ever so slightly, my furry suspended friend nibbled away. Something must have startled him because he did this monumental swirling acrobatic flip from the feeder into the nearby Crepe Myrtle bush. As I watched him fly and then tumble through the limbs of the bush, I was scared he would become impaled on one of the branches. Thankfully he landed safely and after a brief second to make sure the coast was clear, he excitedly scurried across the ground, easily scaling the thin iron pole to the nirvana-inducing smorgasbord.
I went back to reading about the year of Jubilee, the day of Atonement, and other sacred offerings when I was struck by God’s holiness. As I tried to reconcile the awe-rendering holiness of God in the Torah to the warmth and all-encompassing love of Jesus, the grayish-brown circus rodent continued his stunts.
He was once again draped topsy-turvy on the feeder when a huge Blue Jay swooped down like the Red Barron attacking Snoopy landing on the platform edge. This action immediately caused Squirrelly to frantically bail and retreat. I laughed out loud.
The juxtaposition of my trying to read what seems like a serious book in the Bible to the bushy-tailed escapades occurring outside my window appeared to mirror my inner musings of trying to resolve seemingly contrasting ideas about God.
Squirrelly was just too entertaining, so I closed my Bible and enjoyed the divine circus unfolding before my eyes. Several Cardinals came and went as well as my first ever sighting of a Carolina Chickadee. I was pleasantly surprised to see a remaining Robin mixing with the troop of Sparrows that socialize in the close-at-hand Spirea Bush. The Blue Jay had departed and Squirrelly, now earth bound, was feasting on the fallen seeds.
Have you ever noticed that squirrels look like they are praying when they eat? By using both their front paws to hold food to their mouth, they maintain a sacred posture of gratitude and peace.
I never did come to any mind bending conclusions about God and Her holiness. What is there to reconcile when a praying squirrel inspires as much awe as any sacred writing? Sometimes you just have to stop and watch the squirrels.