The bad news is I ran over a squirrel, the good news is he lived to tell his friends about the encounter. His survival is due to the fact that I was not driving a car at the time. Yep, l almost killed a squirrel while jogging.
Even now I am not sure how Mr. Squirrel got so close to meeting his demise. It is not as if I snuck up on him, or that I was running so fast he did not see me coming. I was far from stealth in my approach. My feet plodded heavy against the paved trail, well into a long run, I was having difficulty even picking my feet up. I am certain the desperate pull of air into my lungs with each step I took, followed by a laborious exhale, produced a cadence not unlike the noticeable chugging of an oncoming train. I was sure he would scurry away as I approached. I did not account for his indecisiveness.
I slowed my approach and jogged a bit to the left of his position on the edge of the pavement. He was busy working a nut of some kind into the muddy soil beside the trail. I saw the moment he noticed me, I was only about two feet away at this point. That is when it happened.
You are probably familiar with that startling, back and forth dance we sometimes see squirrels do in the face of an oncoming vehicle. Well imagine this same evasive maneuvering taking place under your feet. As I took a step his direction, he took a four-point stance and stared me down. He then darted to his left, which would have worked since I was passing to my left, but for some reason he changed his little squirrel mind and redirected himself to his right…in a direct collision course with my Nike running shoe! At this point things fell into slow motion as I attempted to propel myself up and over his head. I employed what I am sure was a spectacular hop/skip/jump technique just as he once again changed directions and scampered to safety.
For the remainder of my run I kept imagining all the possible ways that could have gone differently. What if I had actually managed to step on him? There would be no amount of counseling to overcome the memory of picking fur from my Nikes! What if someone had captured this on video? I would be a celebrity as there is no doubt such a clip would go viral on You Tube!
Today I am wondering what would have happened if the little woodland critter had stayed safely in one place. The answer is easy, I would not find myself sitting here today sharing this little adventure with others, and I would not be praising God for His amazing way of bringing us back to Him when we struggle.
I have been struggling. Lately I have not been able to write. More honestly, I have not been “willing” to write. I am not sure entirely why I have not been diligent, but I do know that for me not attempting to write is disobedience since I know that is what He asks me to do. A writer friend of mine has a favorite quote from Harriett the Spy, “writers, write.” I know I need to be writing.
Following my squirrel encounter I could not wait to share this misadventure with those who read my blog, I thought you would enjoy it. Usually God shows me a life application that flows from such events, but when I sat down at the computer, I realized I had none. Then, in the quite moment before the keyboard and staring at the blank screen, it came. God used that squirrel to place me right here, right now.
It feels good to be back on my writing bench, at my writing desk with my dog curled up beside me. God knew I would not be able to resist telling the tale and in so doing, I would be reminded of His direction for my life, thinking of the best way to share and seeking the fingerprints of God in everyday things.
We are all challenged daily to do the things God has called us to do. I hope that today you find time to seek or rediscover His calling in your life.
May God place squirrels in your path that lead you back to Him!
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling…” Ephesians 1:18