Lessons from a Chipmunk

Lessons from a Chipmunk

I have a cat named Splash.  Splash likes to behead small creatures and leave them on the porch as a kind of offering.  On Friday, I was sitting on my back patio and realized that Splash was playing with an adorable little terrified chipmunk.  She likes to play with her prey before she beheads them.

I decided to rescue the furry creature from her clutches but when I picked up the cat the chipmunk scurried between my legs and into my house.  I was so focused on the cat, that I did not see the little rascal’s escape route.

So, later in the evening, when a brown furry rodent ran across the living room floor, I screamed and jumped on the couch.  For the next hour, my husband and I chased the thing around with a broom trying to steer it out the door.  It went under the desk, we moved the desk. It went under the couch so we moved the couch.  It went into the closet full of boxes so we moved all the boxes.  Now we have no clue where the little pest is and my house looks like a tornado blew through.

Chris and I gave it our best shot, then my girls gave it their best shot and I am almost ready to turn the house over to Splash and let the consequences be what they may.  That little fellow whom I felt compassion toward on Friday has become my enemy.

Now that chipmunk meant me no harm.  It was simply afraid and saw me and my family as predators.   How could it know that we are trying to help it, we are after all the owners of the mighty beheading cat.  Still, I feel misunderstood.  All I wanted to do was save it from a certain death and instead it has created chaos in my house.

Have you ever tried to do something out of a spirit of compassion and in the end been seen as the enemy?   I regret having tried to help that chipmunk and if he dies in my closet I will be even angrier at myself for having tried.

Last week, was one of those weeks where it felt like all my good intentions were being misunderstood and misinterpreted.  My attempts to help were being twisted into something ugly by people who simply did not understand my motives.  I was feeling a bit sorry for myself when my daughter sent me this quote from Mother Teresa:

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. 

Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. 

Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. 

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. 

 Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. 

 Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. 

It was never between you and them anyway.


The verses above were reportedly written on the wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India.  I think it would be a great poem to write on the wall in our new office.

While this is the first chipmunk I have ever attempted to rescue from the jaws of Splash, it is not the first time my attempt to “help” has ended badly and I was perceived as the villain. As painful as these occurrences are, I choose to follow my heart anyway.

Now, I need your prayers for little Chip who is still somewhere in my home.  Pray he makes it out alive and that he is not a sacrificial offering on Splash’s alter in the morning.

For those of you who are seeking to do good but who are often misunderstood and treated badly, this post is for you.  Love them anyway.


  1. Have you ever heard and read a short book called “Mother Thereasa Her Essential Wisdom”? A dear friend gave it to me and I’ve been reading through it… I wasn’t very familiar with her before, but *many* of her sayings have really struck me.

    “Today is is very fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them.”

    “The words of Jesus, ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’ must be not only a light for us but a flame that consumes the self in us. Love, in order to survive, must be nourished by sacrifices, especially the sacrifice of self.”

    • Chris,

      I have not read the book but I love the quotes. I will check it out. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Next time you have a chipmunk in your house try to make a path that it MUST use that leads to an outside door. We used all sorts of items; pool noodles, towels, boxes…to make bumpers on both sides so that the critter had nowhere to go but down the path we created. Worked like a charm.


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