A squirrelly afternoon? or just a good lesson

Noah looking up at me

Noah looking up at me

I’d made a plan for yesterday afternoon that I was really looking forward to, but as I started on my way, I began to lose my desire to go. I imagined my destination and it felt flat; my plan seemed to lose its luster. After about 15 minutes I turned back. Jack was surprised to see my car pull into the driveway. He’d  just stopped home to pick something up and didn’t expect to see me until after 5. When he asked why I had changed my mind, I couldn’t give him much of an answer; I just didn’t want to go anymore.

After about a half hour, he said goodbye and was heading to his store when I heard a strange noise coming from the basement. I went downstairs and listened. It was a crying noise coming from the pipe that goes to the furnace. I ran upstairs, caught Jack just as he was pulling out of the driveway, and told him to come listen. He thought it was a squirrel that had somehow gotten into the chimney.

“Turn the furnace off!” was the next thought that I had. We called our plumbing and heating guy Kevin (didn’t get him, but left a message) and then Jack began to call everyone and anyone he could think of who might have an answer. He then set up a space heater in the living room, and stated that  he couldn’t do anything more, so he was going to his store, and told me that I should call him if anyone called us back, and that he would do the same. This did not make me happy and I told him, to which he replied, “What can I do here?” and I said, “I don’t know but at least I wouldn’t feel all alone with this poor trapped creature.” Jack just looked at me. I looked back at him. It was a face-off. On top of feeling helpless about the critter, we were now mad at each other. I thought that he was being unsupportive and he thought that I was being unreasonable, and our little friend was still crying out from the pipe.

After another 1/2 hr of getting nowhere, and having an atmosphere of minor hostility between Jack and I, something broke. I sat on the couch and asked for help. I thought, “There must be a solution. Show me what to do.” That very morning Jack had said to me, “I just read the most wonderful quote by Eckhart Tolle, ‘There are no problems, only situations.”As I remembered this, I called out to Jack, “Do you remember what you read to me this morning about there being no problems?” He took a deep breath and said that he did. At that moment, the phone rang and our heating man said he’d be right over. He took the piping off and about 3 feet back in the wall was a very unhappy looking squirrel….and this part really warmed our hearts: as Kevin shined the flashlight on this frightened animal, he said, “Well hello there Sooty! I’m going to get you out of there!”…and he did.

Later that evening Jack and I talked about how we could do it better next time. We tend to blame each other when we feel afraid or think that we are in a crisis situation. We both want the other one to act like we do. He wants me to slow down and I want him to move faster, but neither of us is in a calm state of mind, so when we start reacting unconsciously, we escalate the drama.  And yet, as a team, we both contributed a lot to this situation having a happy outcome. I thought to turn the furnace off, he thought to call Kevin. I thought to pray and he thought to get the tool (a vintage “grabber” used by grocery stores in the 20’s to get things from high shelves) that he had at his store, which was the thing that got the squirrel free and unharmed.

Jack, Kevin and I did  work together, but there was a much more powerful force at work; one that made me turn around from my trip without knowing why, so I would be home and sitting on the couch (which is quite near to the cellar door) at exactly the time when the squirrel fell down the chimney so I could hear it. Jack had also “just happened” to be home at this time. Kevin was free within an hour to come over. There was a much larger force at hand and it was looking out for the squirrel, just like it was looking out for, and directing, us to help it.

This morning, as I sat quietly I asked myself, “Why did this squirrel come into our lives yesterday? What did it have to teach me?” The answer was, “If you ever wonder about the Divine timing of things, I hope that you remember this. There is a divine orchestration that is beyond what your conscious mind could ever figure out. Keep your faith that I am guiding and directing you for the highest and best for all…AND  you do not have to do it perfectly! (which I took to mean that even when I am not perfectly harmonious, balanced, and loving, I am still in the flow of Good… as long as I just kept moving in that direction.)”.

“All problems are illusions of the mind.” Pg 64 from The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

14 thoughts on “A squirrelly afternoon? or just a good lesson

  1. I read your blog everyday and when I read today’s it hit home for me. I am going through a tough emotional crisis now and you reminded me of Eckhart Tolle’s books both of which I have read before. I got out my New Earth book and am reading it again.
    Thank You Mary for all your wise words.

  2. This struck me: “We both want the other one to act like we do.”

    How true that is for me! It made me wonder why.

    Is it because I think MINE is the right approach and want confirmation or validation or recognition or even approval from the other? “See? You should be more like ME!” Probably sometimes.

    But other times maybe its because secretly I see in myself how I am not handling things well and where I must grow. If the other behaves the same way, I can relieve myself of self-criticism, lay responsibility for the weakness on the other, and feel superior just a tad. Or…if goodness intervenes, I can see how to help the other and, if I’m paying attention, how to help myself.

    That was a profound statement you made, Mary.

  3. Mary, thanks for the little peek into your private life. It is so much fun to see how couples handle daily life situations. We can all use a little more patience and take time to work toward a greater good.

  4. What a wonderful meaningful story. We all go through this at one time or another. Next time this happens, I will think of you and hope I can handel it as well. By the way, love your Skin Survivor Balm in this weather.

  5. We looked after a baby crow one summer. As he grew and explored, sure enough, he ended up down the chimney like your squirrel. We noticed the sound when we were dressed for a formal dinner and dance–tux, long dress, the whole bit. Yes, we got him out AND washed him before we went. Left him in the kitchen to dry out and went to the event a bit late with a great story, and feeling wonderful…if a bit sooty! He was fine! LOL

  6. Your words truly show how constructive it is to review a ” situation :)” in order to understand how to deal with things when the inevitable next time arrives. So many things DID go right in this saga of the poor squirrel! The amazing timing, your practical ideas , getting ahold of that all important grabber! The sense of humor you have in later calling it a squirrely afternoon! How helpful to acknowledge what you both did right in working together.

    “We tend to blame each other when we feel afraid or think that we are in a crisis situation.”

    Boy, it is easy to blame the another when things go wrong… As well as when one is scared.. Now, for me , being scared is what really sets me off! I am remembering an incident when I was quite young. My brother and I were both sitting on the couch , when our littlest brother came tumbling all the way down the stairs. I was so shocked and appalled I couldn’t move . The brother next to me, Ron was equally frozen in fright, his face like a mask. After several seconds the bossy big sister in me barked out at poor Ron ” don’t just sit there, DO something “. So now I understand more how when I am afraid I am wanting the people with me to react in the ideal way, when it is really me who should be reacting appropriately! It is kind of humorous when you think about it. Rick , the rambunctious, tumbling brother lost a baby tooth in the incident , but to this day he teases me about how hard I was on Ron .

  7. Thank you for sharing this. It is only the second time I’ve commented on your entries – I don’t normally comment but this one just resonated so strongly with me. It was such an excellent example of how my husband and I “react” to situations.

  8. What a great retelling of your day, a very lucky squirrel, and many lessons learned by your experience. I love the way you wove this story! Not sure what the outcome would have been if this had been Jeff and me rather than you and Jack. Love and hugs to you both ❤

  9. Thank you this helped to put understanding how my husband and I today ministered to his uncle who is in hospice and now at that near final stage of sleeping all the time except for a few minutes everyday. I talk to him like I did to my mom at the end of her life when she had alhelmzer and I would sing and talk to her about heaven and call her honey and sweetie and how everything was going to be okay and hold or rub her hand, and my husband the lawyer tells him he has everything in order for him. So thank you so much! Joan

  10. “We both want the other one to act like we do.”
    This happens occasionally with Pam and me. She normally parallels Jack’s position, while my reactions are more like yours. We talk about it and it works out. Very practical advise, Mary.

  11. I don’t know if this response will work or not. Since the beginning of January, we have had issues with our telephone service (we were out for a week, a mistake made at the telephone company’s end), then my computer ‘died’, I had one created for me at our local repair shop) it is Window’s 7 and not functioning as I need it to, back to the repair shop), then because of power surges this winter and past week, our modems got fried. A repair tech came in yesterday to install new modems. And in the midst of this non-life-threatening mess came the phrase from Eckhart Tolle “there are no problems, only solutions” to which I would add to the phrase you selected Mary “All problems are illusions of the mind” and to which I would add, in my honest cynicism “and some are not”. There had to be a guiding hand in your decision to turn around and come back home, Mary, but I confess that there are situations in life that I have no idea what lesson has been learned from them. Some are just downright annoying. But I will agree, asking for help from our Higher Power is a way of slowing the mind down to accept the reality of what is happening and placing the problems where they can be shared.
    SandyP in Canada

  12. My 2nd ever post to you- 1st was in November prior to my shoulder surgery. Your response was very calming to me as I mentally prepared for the surgery. I’d like you to know how much I value and appreciate your insights. You have helped me look at life’s situations less myopically. Thank you! And glad you were there to help Sooty too! You saved his hide and I’m hoping your balm may save mine (^__~)!

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