We have a small squirrel who has taken up residence in our backyard, which is unusual because we live in a newer neighborhood – the kind with seven foot trees just beginning to grow. We bought the property because it is at the back of the subdivision and actually had two good sized trees in back and nothing but a field behind us. But, that is not enough of a highway system to attract a squirrel. This isn’t a natural habitat for him. All we can figure is the little guy must have escaped the talons of one of the hawks and plopped down in our yard. And here he remains. He has made a nest in one of the trees and is eating out of the bird feeder. We give him apple cores. He drinks from the birdbath. He is thriving just fine.
But squirrels are social animals. He is lonely. This morning he tried to jump, play and chase a young cottontail bunny who had slipped under the fence to chomp on seeds broad-casted onto the ground by birds on the feeder. The bunny just didn’t understand. The squirrel came on too strong and the bunny took flight, back under the fence. My heart went out for our bushy tailed little guy, because I know how he feels.
Being a writer and working out of my home lends itself to a lonely, isolated life. My family is not close by, and we move a lot, 22 times in 33 years. Like that squirrel I often feel I have been dropped into a new place and am trying my best to make it my home – what choice do I have? Yet, I am a social animal. I need people. I get despondent and desperate for friendships. I try to get too close too fast and not give relationships time to grow. The women in our church who have lived here all their lives and developed friendships over decades don’t understand. Most of them are surrounded by people thay have known seemingly forever. They have friends and families within a stone’s throw. Like the bunny, who has a warren in the field full of bunnies, they’ve shied away. Now, God through this little squirrel has shown me why.
It is because I am concentrating on me – again! My desires, my wants, my loneliness. I am not thinking of helping anyone but myself, and I didn’t realize it. God has dropped me in this place at this time in my life for His reasons. As I build my nest and settle in, it is a precious time spent more with Him than anyone else. I should count this isolation as a privilege, not a curse. He will prepare me for the next yard, and the next, and slowly expand my territory of contacts. Just as for that lonely little squirrel, the trees around me will grow and my highways of life will develop. I need to be patient and content where I am and know the Father is watching out for me. And, while I am here, when people come into my yard, may I show them the seeds they are hungry to get and serve them, instead of jumping to get them to please me, knowing God has led them here as well .
If you are feeling despondent and isolated, take heart. Draw near to God and use this time for sweet communion with the One who understands and loves you the most. God has His reasons. You never know who will be crawling under your fence into your life, hungry for Him.