I really do try to pay attention when I take my daughter to the orthodontist.  We are getting to the point now where the braces are about to come off.  I should be watching as the assistant cleans her teeth, talks about her progress, or lack of it, in regards to her bite shifting into the correct position.  I should be engaging in small talk, asking the orthodontist about how his life is going and what his kids are up to and what he did for the holidays.  But I can’t.  The windows are too big.
The building sits up on a hillside and the back wall of the building is all windows.  When you look outside, you are looking down into a wooded area with a stream.  The vantage point is outstanding and I can’t keep my eyes from scanning, searching for movement, trying to catch the flick of a deer tail or quick flight of a woodpecker.  It’s incredibly distracting, those windows, and I know I am the rudest parent they deal with, ever.  I don’t even have time to look at them, I might miss something.

With the leaves off the trees the entire ravine is exposed.  I didn’t even have to try to see the red fox.  He walked into view like a bright red fire engine positioned in front of a snow bank. 

“It’s a red fox,” I said out loud, trying to act like it wasn’t a big deal to me when it was.  No one in the office even turned his or her head.  The orthodontist said nonchalantly “Oh, we see him now and then.  Glad he is still out there doing well.”  His voice didn’t sound glad though.  Didn’t even sound interested. To my daughter’s credit, she tried to sit up to see it but they wanted her to open her mouth back up for another look so she didn’t get much more than a glance.

I stared at the fox.  His winter coat was thick.  The white tipped tail was incredibly bushy.  He glided with purpose to a designated spot, stopped and began to eat.  Road kill, I thought.  He is eating road kill.  Probably a deer that got hit and made it a short distance into the woods before collapsing. 

A fox is adaptable.  They take advantage of what is given, use it to sustain themselves and move on. Which is exactly what he did, trotting away, smelling and searching as he went, winding all over the area before disappearing down stream. 

I was left contemplating the road kill.  I’ve been looking for sustainability lately.  I’m going through some serious transitions right now and I find myself asking that all familiar question, “Where are you God?”  I am hungry for answers right now.

The fox woke up hungry, too.  Got up, started searching and found a buffet.  I’m sure he had no preconceived notions about where his next meal was coming from. He walked up to it and simply started feeding.  There was no hesitation, no questioning, and no pondering.  He didn’t pause and reflect about whether it was the meal he wanted to eat.  It was simply the meal that had been provided for him to eat.

That’s what hit me.  Sometimes the answer is there, right in front of me, but I miss it because it isn’t what I wanted or what I expected.  So I move on, still hungry, searching for the answer even after it has already been provided.
What if the Creator gave me road kill?  Would I eat it?  Or would I starve instead?  What biases in my life would prevent me from seeing it as the gift it might have been intended to be?  Would I have the wisdom to simply accept the gift?  Or would my own fear and prejudices prevent me from accepting it?

Reminds me of that joke I’m sure you’ve heard.  Goes like this: A farmer is sitting on his roof after a huge flood.  He needs rescued and guy in a boat comes along.  He offers to take the farmer with him. The farmer refuses saying he is putting his trust in God.  The water keeps rising and another boat comes.  Again, the farmer refuses to climb in.  “God will save me,” he says.  When the roof is almost under water a helicopter comes and offers to save the farmer.  Once again, the farmer refuses, putting his trust in God.  The helicopter goes away.  The farmer drowns.  Upon reaching the gates of heaven, the Farmer asks God why he let him down.  And God replies, “I didn’t!  I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

The fox just ate.  Without hesitation, debate or doubt he simply accepted the gift and ate.  I wonder what gifts I am refusing to accept.  I wonder if I will be able to see them for the gifts they are. 

My daughter has to wear those braces for another month.  She was really hoping to get them off that day but the orthodontist was insistent about investing the extra time.  I don’t think my daughter saw the extra month for the gift it was.

“Your braces are like road kill,” I tell her on the way home.  She ignores me. She probably rolled her eyes, too.  She didn’t say a word.  Poor girl, she knows better.



02/16/2012 10:13

What a great reminder to accept the gifts I am given with gratitude.


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