Probably one of my favorite animated characters in the movies over the past twenty years has been Hammy the Squirrel in Over the Hedge. The scenes of him chasing the cookie, getting stoked on caffeine, and his simple, yet heroic character, made him perfectly charming.
Many of us can relate to him on different levels. I don’t know how many times I’ve used the term ‘squirrel moment’ when being distracted while trying to listen to someone or in the middle of a story I’m telling, but I’m sure it ties back to his character.
We can all relate to being hyped up on caffeine or the feeling of ‘but, I like the cookie’. He was the ultimate unsung hero in the movie saving his friends, restoring the supply of nuts, and helping them get past the laser sensors.
I think the reason I like him most was because of his simple, yet loving nature. All too often, the simple are preyed upon and fall victim to the world’s schemes and deceptions. Not Hammy, he fell right into them and came out on top!
His love for his friends was also something admirable as well as his upbeat, happy personality. Not to mention squirrels are just cute. In real life, of course, squirrels are a menace and a creature I could just as soon live without due to the times they have chewed through wires, broken into our home by chewing through the eaves, and tore up our gutters.
Quite often, the simple in life are also the most tender hearted. I have been guilty of this. There are many times I have come across to others as having a ‘blonde moment’ (no offense to anyone blonde) being that I have blonde hair and a tendency to be, well, somewhat absent minded.
Coming from a humble home and being raised to see the best in everyone helped to contribute to my naivety. I remember being in the Bay Area of California after living in the mid-west my whole life. I would often just say hello to complete strangers only to be met with strange looks as though I wanted something from them or was attracted to them (both of which were NOT the case…). Culture shock soon ensued.
Even though awkward at times, having that simple, trusting, accepting, and generally happy heart is something we find in children. It’s that child-like nature that Hammy has in the movie. Perhaps, that’s why we all loved his character so much.
Life has a way of taking a lot of that simplistic, loving, and happy-go-lucky nature from us as we get older. We’ve all been there. Being hurt, someone breaking trust or promises, the hate we see all around, and the pure cynicism of life help us to put the ‘hedges’ up around us to keep us from being hurt again.
God wants to help us get back over that hedge to find the joy again. If you will, to find the ‘cookies’ of life that bring us joy. If we hide behind that wall and hoard our love for others away for a rainy day, we’ll never experience that joy again.
It will take courage. It will take stepping into an unknown again. It may even mean getting hurt again. But, if we can make it through the challenges and find trust in friends, family, and life, we may just find that golden cookie.
So, today, here’s to looking past that hedge and stepping out to find that simple, humble, state of peaceful childlike joy once again. It is possible. It may take time and repeated effort, but God can help us over that hedge and be the caffeine that gets us there.
Be encouraged today my friends. That cookie is right around the corner and we’re going to find it together!!...
Love always friends,