I stopped at Walmart after work yesterday to pick up a few things. For whatever reason, most Walmart parking lots in Oklahoma seem to be a popular gathering spot for Grackles, those shiny black birds with long tails and little red eyes that aggressively stare you down as you walk past. "What'chew lookin' at?" it seems like they are saying.
As I was loading my items into the back of my vehicle, I noticed a movement zipping from underneath my truck to the one right next to it. Then a grackle went hopping along the same path. I turned to see what was going on, and just then a tiny, brown, desperate little mouse came running right toward me, with the grackle in hot pursuit. The bird would grab the mouse by its tail and yank upward, like it was trying to flip the mouse into the air. I could tell the mouse was tired and wounded. It paused between my shoes, looking up at me for an instant, like it was asking for help. I raised my shoe and kicked at the bird. It flitted backward, and looked at me with an indignant glare. The mouse ran back under my truck. The bird gave me a wide circle before going back to the chase.
In that moment, my sympathy was with the mouse. There have been days lately when I swear I feel just like that hapless little rodent. I wanted to help, but couldn't imagine myself running around in dress clothes, chasing a bird and a mouse through a Walmart parking lot. Logically, I knew that I was only watching nature play itself out; there is nothing inherently evil or wrong in the drama between predator and prey. Still, I wondered if God ever feels the way I did in that moment, watching we humans go about the business of shooting, stabbing and otherwise killing each other, often saying we are acting on His behalf?
The mouse ran along the curb, looking for a place to make its escape. The bird kept pestering and pecking, and I knew soon the chase would end. Not knowing what else to do, I got into my truck and started the engine. I swear I saw the bird raise a feather at me as I turned out of the parking lot. I found myself hoping the bird would choke on a mouse bone.