I saw something the other day that broke my heart. I was returning home from the supermarket and noticed something moving on the far side of the road, near the grass. Traffic was very light and as I slowed down to look, a ground hog stood up and looked at me from across the roadway. He was standing over another obviously deceased ground hog that was lying on its back, apparently having been struck by a car. I’m using the word “he” as he was much larger than the dead ground hog which I assumed was a female. As I slowly passed, he did something that I’ll never forget…he laid down sideways over his deceased mate and laid his head and neck over and onto her upturned head and neck, then didn’t move an inch. It was as if he was comforting her, coaxing her to get up and telling her that everything was going to be alright. He was exhibiting the animal kingdom’s rendition of grief and sorrow. It struck me in a very deep place…
It also got me to thinking…why is it that we do the things we do to our fellow man? Constant news reports of various acts of violence and brutality are an every minute occurrence once you log on to a news feed, one incident seemingly more abhorrent than the next. Yes, good things do happen too, but reporting them is usually relegated to a small blurb. It seems folks like to read about the other stuff better.
While I know the animal world can be a violent place, it was this particular act, by an animal, of grief, sorrow and compassion that brought me to write about it. We can drop a few coins in the tip jar at the local convenience store or stop to help a stranded motorist along the highway, but as soon as we get home or to work we’ll yell at our kids, berate our spouses or co-workers, or just remain cold, detached and uninterested in the lives of those around us.
Where is OUR compassion for others?
It took the compassionate, grief-stricken act of a simple ground hog for me to realize that I need to bump it up a few notches. I need to care more than I do now. And, then more than that tomorrow. God does things like that…he uses the most seemingly insignificant circumstances to bring us to our senses. And, sometimes to our knees.
I’ll never forget that road side moment…and, I pray that God will never ALLOW me to forget.