Sunday, March 16, 2014

Against all odds

One of my favorite things about living in rural northern Michigan is watching the wildlife that abounds in the backyard, especially the variety of colorful songbirds. It’s been a hard winter on the birds and animals so I’ve spent a lot of money keeping them fed the best I can. I have so many different birds and different kinds of feeders; many more will arrive with the warmer weather and the feeders are constantly full of activity, especially in the winter. 

One problem, however, that no one seems to have completely mastered, is keeping the squirrels out of the feeders.  The feed stores here are stocked with all sorts of baffles and squirrel proof feeders; the birding books and magazines have sorts of suggestions such as greasing the pole, mixing hot pepper in the seed, etc….but I’ve yet to find a way to eliminate the problem.  Last week, however, I thought I may have out-smarted them, at least for a while, when I hung the feeder on a hook ­­­­way up high (about 5 inches) from the roof overhang.  There, you little buggers, how are you going to reach them now????  Once again, I was wrong!  Yesterday I sat and watched as a black squirrel made his way to the feeder, hung upside down, and filled his belly.  I made several trips to the window, banged my hand on the glass, opened the window and yelled at him­­ multiple times, and yet, I only managed to scare him away for a few minutes and he’d be right back at it. Darn squirrel!

I finally gave up and decided to watch him. Sigh…… This situation caused my mind to wander and again I wondered what “lesson” God was trying to teach me. (I think too much for my own good sometimes!)  As I closed my eyes to reflect, the words, “Against all odds,” kept coming to my mind. I thought about that for a long time and began to think about all those people I know and have read about or heard about over the years that accomplished great things “against all odds.”  That squirrel knew exactly what he wanted….and was so determined, that he would do whatever necessary to get it.  He’d outsmart me; He jumped incredible distances; He took big chances of falling or missing the target when he jumped into the air with the hopes of landing on that feeder; He was knocked down over and over again, likely getting hurt in the process. And yet….he never gave up; he never kept trying. Over and over and over again he leapt toward the feeder, hoping to get to the sunflower seed.  So much focus. So much determination. So much courage. And in the end?????  Success!   I gave up trying to scare him and he ate until his belly was full.

There is so much to be learned from that silly squirrel. Those very characteristics are the ones that are necessary for us to be successful in our own journey. Those are the characteristics that allow people to accomplish things that others might deem impossible; meet goals that seem unreachable; handle situations…trials, illness, hardship, grief, unemployment, anxiety, addiction…..that seem unbearable and unconquerable.  I often look at people and wonder “how on earth did he/she get through that, how on earth did that person have the strength to keep going when his/her world was falling apart, how did they find the courage to go on, how did they manage to keep it together?” How?

I often look at my own situation and wonder how I ever got through those difficult days of loss, pain, grief and how/where I got the strength to lose this weight. I suppose the story has gained such interest in the media because it seems impossible, like it couldn’t really have happened, and yet, here I am!  I often wonder how I continue to keep going with all the various things that are vying for my time.  I suppose, in a way, I’m like that squirrel and I wanted to walk and regain my life SO BAD that I was willing to do whatever it took to get it.  Of course, NONE….and I mean NONE of it would have happened on my own; it is God-power….with only a smidgen of cooperation from me….that got me and continue to gets me through each day.

Today, I encourage you to think about that silly squirrel. Ask yourself….WHAT is it that you want SO BAD that you will do whatever it takes to get it…..even if you fall and have to try again and again and again?  What is in that “bird feeder in your life” that you will keep trying to get? Will you give up and run back into the woods or are you going to keep trying over and over and over and stay focused?  This squirrel FINALLY got the seed, against all odds!  You, too, will get your miracle, even when it seems like an IMPOSSIBLE situation right now!

Don’t lose hope! Don’t give up!  People who are sick get better without explanation. Relationships endure distance and separation and grow despite the miles between them. People do lose weight even when it seems impossible. Addicts become sober. People find jobs. Grief and sadness turns into laughter and peace.  The underdog often wins.  Keep on jumping….keep on trying….keep the faith and keep your eye on your dream.  I have faith in you!