Each of us during our lifetime, has created a story in our minds. If we take a Time Out to reflect on the story, we could see how it impacts who we are and how we react to situations and relate to others. We would have a full appreciation of how it influences our emotions.
We had just pulled into the gas station to fill up when I glanced the black squirrel in a tree in the yard next door. “Look!” I exclaimed with my usual enthusiasm, “a black squirrel” As I continued to study the squirrel, I exclaimed for the second time, “oh my gosh, look at how he is hanging from the tree.” My friend added to what was unfolding, “he is hanging by his neck!”
“I can see both his front and back legs,” I declared, “that means that he is hanging by his neck!” My daughter then chimed in in horror “He’s going to die! Don’t let him die!”
“No, he’s swinging himself. He will either pull his legs up or break the twig” my friend opined. “Yes” we chorused in relief, as the squirrel appeared to be making progress. Our collective energy was willing the poor black squirrel to use his survival instincts. Then it was panic and horror again in the car, because now our black squirrel appeared to be weakening. “Somebody do something” pleaded my daughter. “I don’t want it to die.” She then pulled up her legs and hid her face.
“Maybe we should call the fire brigade?” I suggested, still studying the squirrel intently and probably having flashbacks to the movie Pleasantville.
“There are enough of us in the car, that if we send out positive energy, the squirrel will be saved” I said, as my faith now took the driver’s seat. Someone suggested that we pray for the squirrel. I continued to study the squirrel intently.
“Maybe God will perform a miracle and save the squirrel. “What if” I asked aloud “the squirrel was not a squirrel?” The squirrel was in fact a piece of rag.”
We all looked up at the tree again and sure enough, the black squirrel was now a piece of black garbage bag floating in the wind. That the three of us could be so deceived was unbelievable. Our emotions within the space of five minutes had transitioned from joy to horror to awe and disbelief, to panic and ultimately, to overwhelming comic relief.
It reminded me so much of the unwarranted emotional turmoil in which we find ourselves ona daily basis, because of ineffective communication – assumptions made, behaviours that match the unfounded assumptions we have made, the emotional roller coaster caused by stories we create. What are some of the stories that you are currently telling yourself during the pandemic? What is the resurrection story that we have before us as we approach Easter? What is the truth that Jesus’ death and Resurrection will reveal to us?
Let’s commit to taking regular Time Outs during the day, to ensure that the stories we are responding to are indeed fact, so that we save ourselves from a possible case of “Black Squirrel Trauma”.
Till we meet again, it’s Judy Joseph Mc Sween, Time Out Specialist