Owls are nocturnal creatures and are equipped with special eyes to see in the dark. Yet for weeks I have heard an owl hooting long after daylight, and the other morning when I went to my birdwatching window, there he sat on the swing set!
There was not a bird in sight. They instinctively know owls as predators. A hungry owl will eat a bird as quick as they will eat a field mouse. So finally I understood the little pile of feathers I found in my bird feeding area recently. I hope the neighbor's cat I blamed it on will forgive me.
My only explanation for his behavior is that he must think he is a rooster! He feels responsible to make wake-up noises well into the day.
His problem is a confused identity. In this way, he is like humans. Many of our problems are the direct result of a confused identity.
Do you for one moment think a young man or woman would join a gang and inflict violence on others if they realized their identity. I think they are children of God, and that's a high and proud identity to live up to. But even if someone doesn't accept his or her divine parentage, it is a wonderful identity to just know you are a human with unlimited potential for growth in loving kindness and empathy.
If they just realized who they are, they would not be hurting people. They would be cherishing every human being and reaching out to them with a helping hand.
As a project, wouldn't it be great for every member of a gang to take on one old person in a nursing home and just visit them once a week, pushing their wheelchair out in the sunlight for a while, rubbing their feet or just talking about life? Seeing their identity as a caring person helping someone who feels lonely and unloved would literally transform them.
A neighbor of mine changed my life as a wild and restless teenager by offering to let me have his Olds 98 one night for every time I went to church with him and sang with his wife. I became the most religious boy in downtown Watering Trough! I changed my identity from a rebellious teenager to someone viewed as a valuable member of a church duet. And isn't it interesting that I began to behave differently! In fact, my neighbor was illiterate, and I ended up sitting up and reading the Bible to him at night simply because he had become my friend.
The thing that breaks my heart about gangs is not just the violence they foster but the joy and fulfillment they miss. I remember a poem that said, "Let me live in a house by the side of the road and be a friend to man." There is so much more lifetime bliss in that than there is in being a feared member of a gang.
Life is really more simple than society makes it appear. To have a family who loves you, the good will of good people, a place of service to use your talents and to devote yourself to becoming a good human being, this is where the best life is.
Anyone can make people afraid of them. No challenge there.
Email Dalton Roberts at DownhomeP@aol.com.