There is an old Southern story that says:
In the days when people kept pet squirrels, a lady had a pet squirrel. Every day, she would throw whole pecans in the cage with the squirrel, and all the neighbors would come and thought the squirrel busting the nut and eating all the meat from the hull was the cutest thing.
One day, the lady was walking through the grocery store and saw a 5 pound bag of shelled pecans. The lady thought it would be nice to get the shelled pecans for her squirrel and so she did. About four weeks later the little squirrel got very sick.
When the lady took her pet to the vet, the first question was what she was feeding the squirrel. When she answered that she was feeding shelled pecans the doctor became upset and told her to stop immediately.
In nature, it is the job of the squirrel to break open pecans and this grinds the rodent’s teeth back; without this task, the animal’s teeth will grow into its brain and kill it.
The lady then took the squirrel home and began throwing whole pecans back in the cage; however, after a month of free food, the squirrel refused to eat. The squirrel had become lazy. Three days later, the little squirrel was graveyard dead.
The moral of the story is a simple but true one.
In this life, we are all given jobs to do; we are given talents and skills that if we are not allowed to use, it is just as good as being graveyard dead.
While we receive regular input from media, society, friends and family often telling us what we can and can’t do and things we need and don’t need, the one certainty in life is that there is no such thing as an untalented person.
We all have an innate drive that leads our life forward and a primordial instinct to work toward a goal that is often not spoken aloud. When we listen to those who play on our insecurities and we stop listening to the feelings that drive us, we lose sight of our path and need redirection.
To give up on following our desires and finding that which drives is like the squirrel that gives up on busting pecan shells because there may be an easier way to get something for nothing.
In refusing to aim for our goals and accepting mediocrit,y we become graveyard dead on the inside.
Someone once said that the true tragedy of mankind is not aiming too high and missing; it’s aiming too low and hitting. We should always have goals that are beyond our immediate reach and when we reach our goal, it is important to acknowledge our accomplishment and quickly move on to the next out-of-reach project. This is life and this is how we define who we are and what impact we have in the time we are given.
If you are looking to redirect your current path to seek your bigger goals, there are good mental health counselors and others here in our community who can help. Give them a call and tell them your pet squirrel story.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS