It's been a couple weeks since we've seen them. They were so cute and adorable, 5 little foxes running and playing in our backyard, with their beautiful mom keeping a watchful eye. It was inevitable that they would leave, of course. That's the way things go--they are wild animals, after all. Their presence in our backyard, taking up residence under our shed for two weeks, taught me a couple of lessons, though, so I share those with you now.
It was late on a Tuesday that we first heard the sound--I thought it was some dog gone hoarse, barking when we let our dog out at night. It was a very eerie sound. After we heard it for 3 or 4 nights, Brock finally saw the fox one morning as he was tracking down the dog on her trek through the backyard. Not long after that, cute little fox babies started showing up, popping out of the hole their mom had dug under our shed.
Two or three times a day they would come out and play, depending on what else was going on in the area of our backyard, their mother keeping a watchful eye, running off if any threat arrived, as the kits scampered back under the shed. She'd run far enough to be out of danger, but close enough to see when the coast was clear and then return.
I understood her concern. I wished there was a way to let her know that I wasn't really a threat to her, that I thought she was wonderful and beautiful, and that I would do anything I could to help her. I also wanted to let her know that I understood being concerned about the kids playing in that yard: I only have 2, and I get worried they're going to get hurt or fall down the hill and land in the creek/drainage ditch...stuff like that, you know. I can't imagine how it was to try to keep track of 5!
In my musings about the momma fox, it began to dawn on me that the fox was teaching me some things about God...or God was teaching me through the fox, is probably more like it. That fox was beautiful; I was thrilled just to see her roaming around the backyard, watching her kits, barking (or whatever it is) at my dog. She was this delightful, amazing gift. I felt silly about it, but I wished there was some way I could make her understand how wonderful I thought she was and how much I would love to make sure she was protected and provided for, if there were any way that I could. This all seemed slightly unreasonable, though--I mean, she was a wild fox, and she showed up in my yard, dug out a spot under our shed for her babies, and made our home her home, for a while.
I began to wonder, is this how God feels when looking at me? Does God find delight in seeing me be me, doing the things God made me to be able to do? Does God think I'm beautiful and lovely? Does God desire the best for me, long to see me safe and flourishing? Does God wish I would understand all of that? Maybe so. Maybe this is the beginning of understanding it better than I already thought I did.
As for the foxes, I'll be looking for a flash of orange in the woods all summer...maybe I'll catch of a glimpse of them in the wild, doing what God made them to do...
Oh, and if you're wondering what the fox says, watch a women's tennis match--that loud scream/grunt so many tennis players make these days is the closest we've come to finding a similar sound...