I have a love-hate relationship with spring.
I love the new buds, green grass, and blooming flowers.
I strongly dislike the warm/cold weather, gray/sunny days, and pollen that sets off my allergies.
This morning happened to be a “love spring” day. I was taking a very early morning run with my dog (don’t tell my physical therapist—I’m supposed to be taking it easy). I was enjoying the rising sun and thinking about the million and one things that were on my to-do list today (none of which included writing this blog).
Suddenly, a mama fox ran right across the road in front of us and jumped over a nearby chain link fence. She was making quite a bit of noise, as if telling someone to “run.”
As I watched her run through the field, my eyes shifted to the fence where I saw a baby fox. He was adorable, but he wasn’t moving. He was just staring at me with huge eyes. I moved closer and realized that his head was stuck in the chain link.
Poor little guy! I walked over to help him, and with the assistance of my husky—who couldn’t help but sniff and lick his tiny head—began to nudge and push him. He was incredibly soft, and he was incredibly stuck.
The chain link wouldn’t budge when I tried to pull it apart. I tried pushing his head again. He was able to pull one ear free, but the rest of his head was fixed in the fence.
My concern was growing—I didn’t want him to suffocate. I was considering running home to get reinforcements (i.e., Matt). I said a prayer (and a few choice words) and began gently pushing his head again.
Finally, he wiggled loose and bounced through a puddle to meet his mama who was watching the event unfold. Before he left, he paused and looked at me as if to say, “You’re not so scary after all. Thanks for helping me.”
As I ran home, I felt completely overwhelmed by the privilege of helping this little baby fox. I was so grateful that I had the opportunity to save his day, and I began to reflect on the value of life.
All life is valuable—whether a budding flower, a baby fox, a teenager with disabilities, or an elderly grandparent resting in a nursing home.
Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School. Most Colorado natives can still remember exactly where we were standing when this horrible tragedy was announced. I was on an eighth-grade student council field trip; we were serving lunch at the Denver Rescue Mission when the story flashed across the TV screen.
This sad day set an unfortunate precedent for mass and school shootings in America. Few people who live in our amazing country have escaped this new era unscathed. Everyone knows someone, and this topic brings a wide range of emotions to the surface. Many of these emotions lead to various forms of action—new laws, divided political opinions, startup charities, activist groups, and more.
In the midst of all of these voices, it can be easy to lose sight of the “why” behind the actions. All of these actions started because someone valued life.
While we all have different opinions about “how” to value the lives around us, we need to remember that diverse opinions were meant to challenge us and make us think—they were never intended to divide us.
Today, I challenge you to return to the “why” by creating a “baby fox” moment. For just a few minutes, lay down the activism, silence the voices, and reflect on the value of life.
Life is such a gift, and we only have one to live. This is the only chance we’ve got to leave our mark on the world.
Today, look for someone who needs five minutes of your time. This may be a family member, an animal, or a complete stranger.
Take five minutes and value their existence. Help if you can. At the very least, let them know that you appreciate them and value their life on this earth. Like the baby fox, you may find that those who are different aren’t so scary after all.
This single act is a powerful way to honor the memory of those who are no longer with us.
Remember the lesson of the baby fox. Take time to cherish those around you. Remember Columbine. Respect life.
This photo is courtesy of Jean Black on Unsplash. I didn't take a photo because I don't carry a phone when I run. It's the one time of day that I get to be free from technology.