LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW I saw a beautiful red shouldered hawk sitting on the branch of a tree in the woods. The leaves had fallen so I had a clear view of what happened next.
The hawk was sitting so still that at first I thought he was part of the tree. He appeared to be simply enjoying the day.
But, obviously the blue jays were not happy that he was visiting their neighborhood. Within minutes there were a dozen of them on various limbs directing all their attention at him. I imagined they were communicating in bird language that he was being asked to leave.
He just kept sitting there, calm and regal.
Soon, a gray squirrel started walking back and forth on a limb a few feet in front of the hawk. Turning his back side to the him, he began flipping his tail. It was a sure sign to get out, and a warning to others of the danger.
The hawk continued to sit.
Next some of the blue jays decided to take action.
One got so bold that he flew right by the hawk’s face rippling the feathers on his head. Another, seeing the courage of the first blue jay, flew at the hawk so close he ruffled the hawk’s tail feathers.
I could feel their pride of accomplishment. “Look guys, I did it!”
Still, the hawk remained immovable.
Finally, the resident crows arrived and perched directly above the hawk’s head.
That was the tipping point. The hawk flew off, and everyone, having worked together as a community to eliminate a perceived danger returned home. No harm done to anyone.
It was protection, but not aggression.
Something must have been going on in the blue jay community that day that needed to be protected, because there have been other days when the hawks, crows, blue jays, and squirrels have coexisted in the woods together.
I have tried to place this idea within the context of the tragedies occurring across the world.
The residents of the woods have a calm understanding and appreciation of each other.
They don’t plan revenge, or kill for glory. Unlike humans.
We will never find freedom from the danger of terrorists, of any kind, if we respond with hatred, revenge, or a desire for glory. We simply feed the monster.
It starts within each of us, this balance of protection and understanding.
When we see anyone as less than ourselves, as not human, we become capable of acting inhumanly.
When we allow the masses and media to direct our attention to hatred and retaliation, we have stepped into an unending cycle of hatred that could grow enough to consume us all.
If you are reading this, I know you don’t want that to be the outcome.
We all have to find enough love within ourselves to give it to those that are both the innocent victims of the cycle of intolerance, and to the victims of propaganda and hatred, that convince them to turn to evil acts.
We can’t participate in any kind of intolerance. All the evil that has transpired on this planet has come about because we have not understood that there is not one race, or person, or religion, better than another.
We can’t let anyone take us down that road.
I don’t have any political answers. In fact, I don’t think the answer can ever be found in politics with its posturing and oneupmanship.
What I do know is that we, the people, have to lead the way; not through politics and war, but through compassion, understanding, and yes, loving protection.
Just like the blue jays, crows, and squirrel. Not prejudiced, Not motivated by hate.
But, with the same understanding they have, that we are all part of one Life. One.
What we need is more Love, more awareness, more tolerance, more compassion, more open heartedness.
We can be as “wise as serpents, and as harmless as the doves.” We can refuse to become carriers of terrorists thoughts and acts within ourselves.
It is not easy, but there is no other way.
Bible Matt [10:16]