“SAVANNAH, WHAT DID YOU DO?!” I was in shock. Sissa, the little baby squirrel that we had helped raise for the last few weeks was now laying in my hand, shaking violently and unable to stand up. Even after questioning my 4 year old daughter some more, it was apparent that Savannah was oblivious to how Sissa became injured. She claimed that they were “just playing together!”
Although this appeared to be an accident, inside my heart, I was boiling. I didn’t realize that I was so attached to our pet squirrel; however, my emotions now were revealing what this really meant to me. I could not believe that my cute little girl could do something so tragic, and worse yet, not even seem sad about it. My wife and I had told Savannah many times to be gentle with Sissa, and now here we stood, with an innocent baby squirrel struggling with an obvious spinal injury. Why hadn’t I trained my daughter to take better care of animals? Why wasn’t I more specific with how she should play with a baby squirrel? How could my own flesh and blood not show any remorse with what she had done?!
I knew what I had to do, and deep inside, I was furious. My wife and daughter went in the house, and I tried to get the courage to take care of Sissa and help him quickly get out of his misery. “I should make my daughter watch me do it,” I surprisingly thought to myself. “Why do I have to be the one to do the hard part?” It was then God spoke so clearly to me: “It’s not easy is it? Pouring your love into someone and then watching them make decisions with such devastating consequences – and then they don’t even see how much it hurts you.” My heart softened a bit and instantly I was convicted. How many times had I intentionally abused the gift graciously given to me from my Savior, and here I was angry at my daughter’s accidental carelessness?
This still wasn’t going to be easy. Burying Sissa’s lifeless body was very difficult, but even then, I was gently reminded that the heart of my little girl is much more valuable than many squirrels. Parenthood has provided many opportunities to observe what the Gospel really looks like, but going through this specific journey with Savannah has brought me to an even greater place of awe and thanksgiving for all that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice really means.