When my husband retired, it took him a while to adjust to his new life. Finding things to do wasn’t a problem, prioritizing them was.
One thing he especially enjoyed was spending more time feeding the birds in our backyard. We gave him a sophisticated new bird feeder to encourage his hobby and he went from there. Soon he had every bird feeder known to man swinging from hooks in the overhang of our roof.
As if they were members of the 82nd Airborne Division, squirrels watched hungrily from the fence, their calculating little brains doing the math, trying to figure ways to invade the feeders. The birds ate unfettered, their anxious rodent friends with whom they shared the yard not on their agenda.
Mornings were full of laughs. Squirrels raced from point to point on the fence, limb to limb on the lilac, and gutter to gutter from the roof. Their little brown heads, like soldiers in camouflage, peered over the edge seeking the bird seed dangling inches from their surveillance posts.
One rodent came close. He jumped, paratrooper style, onto the patio umbrella, surprised eyes round as he found himself on the bouncy canvas surface. He couldn’t secure footing on the makeshift trampoline so he hurriedly slid to an edge and jumped off.
Whether the birds decided to take pity on their begging neighbors or the seed they wasted came as a natural result of constantly feeding themselves, we didn’t know. But soon the squirrels bivouacked directly below the feeders. An abundance of surplus seed tossed aside by a frenzied beak waited for the taking. The squirrels engaged in friendly fire vying for territorial claims to the leftovers.
The incidents reminded me of a promise in God’s words.
Matthew 6:26 Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value than they?
We were the winners.
The seed wasn’t left to sprout. The birds were happily fed. The squirrels grew as round as regular visitors to the doughnut shop, stripping the sacred circle on the ground. Everyone was satisfied. And not a shot was fired.
And that’s how you win a war.