Parents want to protect their children. But in doing so, they tend to omit some vital details about life. How often does a parent tell a child people are basically good and beautiful, and the world is benevolent, and love can be trusted?
Sometime in December—as this long, bitter, snow-buried winter descended upon Chicago—my wife was accosted by a squirrel.
She was walking out our front door when it ran up our sidewalk directly at her. She retreated inside and called us to the front door, where we looked out at the rodent through the pane of glass—the biggest, heaviest squirrel I’ve ever seen, sitting upright on our front porch, staring at us.
It was like Man Vs. Wild Goes to the Suburbs.
“Is it rabid?” my wife asked.
I scanned it for symptoms and didn’t see any. Incredulously, I responded, “I don’t think so. I think it just wants…food.”
I grabbed a scrap of bread, tossed it at his feet, and he proceeded to eat the entire thing right in front of us. And then he stared at us again, silently asking for more. We gave it to him and he disappeared around a tree.
That was three months ago. The ridiculous, record-setting winter continues, and several times a week, we look out our back door to find our big squirrel, perched on the deck railing, staring into our kitchen, waiting for food.
Recently, as I watched him eat and marveled at the size of him, it dawned on me: we’re not his only benefactors. In this long, hard winter, our squirrel is thriving because he’s learned one thing many people never learn: he exists in a benevolent world.
He’s learned to ask for good things until love responds.
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