It has happened again. Mid-afternoon, I was headed to my dad’s casita for a visit with him. Spot was meowing so let her in, then heard a high-pitched, keening, distressed little voice and looked to the side of the door. There was another little squirrel, like the one that made its way to our house in March of 2015. This one was a little bigger and when I reached out to pick it up, he gave me a good little nip, put up a fight and then sagged, exhausted, against my hand.
Sherod and I have spent the last 3 hours working with the little fellow—I got in my car and drove the 20+ miles to Prattville and came home with Pedialyte, a rehydration liquid for babies, Esbilac, a milk replacer for animals, a new dropper, and a tiny little bed he’ll sleep in tonight. I had left Sherod with warm sugar water and one of those contraptions you use when a baby has a cold and you want to suction his or her little nose. Sherod slipped the squirrel in his pocket and every 20 minutes we’ve been taking him out to feed him the Pedialyte. I am wearing one of Sherod’s t-shirts with a pocket and we’ve discussed how we’ll each take a shift on the recliner tonight to keep the baby squirrel in a pocket and warm.
Sitting, tending to this tiny, fragile life, we listened to a segment on 60 Minutes about a focus group led by Frank Lutz. In a span between feedings, we heard the anger, fear, despair and division that is wracking our country, and how the one every so thin thread left to bind us together will either get stronger or may well snap on election night, depending on the graciousness of whichever of the two candidates loses. Maybe that’s a hyperbole, but not one I want to see tested.
Once again, I am brought up short by this new life out in the countryside where the trajectories and stories of the day get interrupted and require of me kindness, extra effort, the conviction that I must try to do what I can, without a guarantee that the little squirrel will live through tonight. I think, I hope, I am becoming a better person with each of these miniscule ways I participate in God’s creation.
And that has a direct bearing on my part in the upcoming elections. I am very clear about who I am voting for; I am desperately fearful for what happens next if that person doesn’t win. Yet I must hope and commit that this election will also be an opportunity to try to become the person who God created me to be. Not just that little squirrel we’re tending to, but words of the Gospel I read at church today are particularly sobering:
Jesus looked up at his disciples and said, “”…I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:20-31