My daughters will possess an uncontrollable desire to throw rocks at squirrels when they are older.
That will probably confuse them, but I promise this learned behavior has a pretty simple explanation: I hate squirrels.
It wasn’t always this way. I used to be a fan of squirrels, not just a casual admirer, a fan. Sure I didn’t collect beanie baby stuffed animal squirrels like my roommate senior year of college, but I liked them a lot. If I saw one, I would point it out to people and say, “Look at that squirrel. Eating a nut, just chilling. Squirrels are great.” I fed them French fries in the Boston Commons and we used to take long rides on a bike with two seats. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but like Seinfeld’s George Costanza and the pigeons, me and the squirrels had an agreement. I stayed inside, they stayed in the trees. Life was good.
Until they came into my attic.
As I’ve mentioned before, a family of squirrels chewed several holes in my house and created some sort of furry tailed wonderland in my insulation. My friend put his foot through our bedroom ceiling trying to chase them with me. We had to pay someone hundreds of dollars to repair the house. The whole thing was a blast.
So now, when I see a squirrel in my yard, I don’t mess around. I do everything I can to let him know that the Acuff house is no longer a squirrel safe haven. Last Friday night when we were pulling out of the driveway I saw one. With my kids strapped into their car seats waiting to go to the pet store, AKA “free zoo,” I proceeded to throw rocks at the squirrel until he climbed a tree. I then turned the hose on and tried to spray him out. Then I climbed the now wet tree until I was high enough to shake him out. When I got 15 feet up, I could see him. He was wet and had this look on his little squirrel face that seemed to say, “What the heck is going on? I’m a squirrel. A freakin’ squirrel! People love us.”
Not me. I don’t take the appearance, be it casual, of a squirrel very lightly. I’ve been burned by squirrels in the past so I am more than happy to go to insane extremes to make sure another squirrel doesn’t chew its way back into my house and wreck my attic all over again.
The weird thing is that the whole squirrel episode kind of convicted me about my life. You see, there are some issues that I have struggled with for decades. So now, when I see even the hint of them trying to hang out in the yard of my mind, I start throwing rocks. I do everything I can with God to chase them out before they settle back in for a long winter’s nap in my head.
But there are other things I fail to chase away. There are some issues I let slide. Some times it feels like I practically coat my heart with peanut butter and hang up a sign that invites all the squirrels in a hundred mile radius to a “Pajama Jammy Jam.” That is ridiculous but true. Anxiety is that way for me.
Just this week, I’ve been anxious and all stirred up with worry about Catalyst. “What if people think I’m “blog funny” but not real life funny? What if only 2 people show up to the Side Hug photo? What if 100 do and I’m such a horrible organizer that no one brings a camera and we have to draw the side hug with pencil to capture it? AHHH! Stress! Stress! Stress! Nuts. Nuts. Nuts.”
I don’t want to live that way. I’m really tired of squirrels, both metaphorical and literal. So this week I started doing something a little differently. I called one of my accountability partners and instead of talking about my normal battery of stuff; I was honest about my anxiety. I confessed my doubt and my fear. I cast all my anxiety on God over and over again. I threw rocks at something I hadn’t thrown many rocks at before.
So that’s what I am curious about today:
What squirrels are you throwing rocks at right now in your own life?
What squirrels are you inviting in for a pajama jammy jam?