Photo by Misty Ladd on Unsplash 

I refilled the bird feeder outside my office window this morning and the birds returned. A squirrel arrived as well, as soon as he saw the feeder was full, and I banged in the window and cracked it open a few inches causing him to leap and run. 

Like that squirrel, I too have wandered roads I shouldn’t this morning, poking down paths online and in my mind that always leave me feeling anxious and alone. I wasted precious time checking a former colleague’s website, a place where my name used to be, watching an intricate web of networks that seem to be continually woven around my exclusion. 

I’ve worn bare the paths to these empty feeders of comparison, to the places where others gather that are, quite simply, not for me. And yet, the hunger for belonging drives me. The loneliness is deep. 

Maybe I need someone to bang on a window nearby. Shout, “That is not the place for you!” while I scurry in haste back home to a den or nest tucked high in a tree. 

Each of us must be what we are. 

Perhaps this is part of the reason I bristle so at the squirrel’s intrusion – “This feeder is not for you!” Yet, I feel compassion too – for the way he wraps his whole body around his heart’s desire, for the clever climbing, scheming, leaping to be fed, for the hunger, the need, that drives him so.

Sustainable Spirituality

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