Faith & Worship: The Whirlybird and the Scrawny Grey Squirrel

Published 8:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2018

I was sitting on a kitchen chair looking out the glass door at the bird feeding station. There is a barrel of lantana on the stump of a large old hemlock tree which the birds and butterflies like. And the feeding area is flanked by holly hedges which provide shelter and protection. It is a busy place, so much so that I sometimes think there is the need for an air traffic controller, but there are never any collisions.

Among the visitors to the feeding station are a lone goldfinch and a grey squirrel. My heart goes out to both and I wish there was something more I could do for them. The little bird, which my wife named “helicopter” has what I assume is a birth defect which affects its flight. It maneuvers with difficulty and fortunately after several tries manages to alight on the feeder. Its eyes and the shape of its little head are such that well, as folks sometimes say, “It just ain’t right.” Fortunately, it is able to eat. However, I fear it won’t survive the winter.

The grey squirrel has what I presume is either a birth defect, or it has been attacked and somewhat mangled by a predator from which it escaped. Its tail is stubby and a portion of it back and side are bare and have what appear to be tumors of some sort. It is able to get around although its gate is abnormal. Fortunately it too is able to eat. I don’t know what its future holds.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

We once had a dog that went blind and we felt so sorry for him.  He adapted, but we wished there was something we could have done for him. The veterinarian told us he didn’t know he wasn’t supposed to be that way. We were projecting our emotions upon him. Maybe the same is true for the little whirlybird and the scrawny grey squirrel. I hope so, but still my heart goes out to them.

All of this serves as a reminder to me that there are some misfortunes in life about which I can do little or nothing.  I can feel pity, do what little I can, wish things were different, but that’s about all I can do. There is a prayer I read which is applicable to such circumstances and can help us cope. It was written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1940’s and it goes like this: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” AMEN!