I began with a simple intention of feeding the squirrels.  It must have been a nudge from God to do so.  Remember when Francis said how he could not abide the pesky flies?  This is how I felt concerning the squirrels, especially one in particular who would push dirt from my pots onto the patio and make a horrible mess, just because he was looking for some treasure.  So, there I am feeding the rascals, anyway!

I put out half of the nuts left from Christmas.  Then I watched from my dining room window.  Sure enough, it was only a couple of minutes before squirrel #1 came on the scene from across the driveway.  Squirrel #1 sees a wonderful “gift” of nuts under the bush.  He checks it out and claims it as his own. He immediately carries off the nuts, one at a time, to hide them.  I was happy it was him.  

As he leaves, squirrel #2 arrives and decides he likes the nuts, too.  As I watched this little entertainment, I first thought now squirrel #2 will learn his lesson for messing my patio.  As he sits there checking out the nuts, squirrel #1 returns and drives him off, scolding, “Stay away from here!  I found this marvelous treasure first, and it’s all mine, and you can’t have any of it, not even one little nut!”  He then grabs another nut and runs off to bury it, and squirrel #2 returns to try again.  After being chased away a couple more times, squirrel #2 stays away and waits patiently.  However, God gave me another nudge and put another thought into my brain, and this suddenly became an experiment of a lesson of the nature of humanity.

Squirrel #1 now completes his collection and departs.  After he is gone, another “gift” of nuts arrives under the bush, along with a wonderful BONUS of unshelled nuts ready to eat and enjoy.  Squirrel #2 discovers that by patiently waiting, he not only has a pile of “gifts” to hide for himself, but the gifts are better because they include more than he expected.  He begins to hide the nuts, stopping every so often to enjoy the added BONUS.  The selfish squirrel #1 doesn’t return and so does not even know about the bonus meal – he thinks he has the best gift of all which he kept just for himself.

As I watched the interaction between them, God was feeding my mind with the thought about the vices of greed and selfishness in not sharing our treasures, and the frame of mind that’s trying to take over the world of “me-me-me” and “mine-mine-mine.”  This is when I felt I was to watch these two squirrels and write about them in connecting their actions with humanity. 

The Lord grants us many gifts to share with one another.  Some gifts we may have to wait for, but with patience comes rewards, and sometimes those rewards can be greater than what we hoped for originally.  Both kinds of humanity – the rich and selfish and the poor and desperate – which were given to us by example of the squirrels, need our prayers in order to know the hand of God in their life.

– Ellen Jennings, OFS