The little table out by the road upon which this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit places choice, fresh, organic produce is ever a source of lessons and praise.
A few days ago I awoke to a scene out there of smashed, large, ripe tomatoes. Yes, I'd left some out there as I've done before, as sometimes (often) I cannot get the body physically up off the mattress very early in the morning. At first I was rather crestfallen, as it was rather destructive, and I thought of the soup base those tomatoes would have made--blended, frozen for winter soups.
However, I then decided it was better to think that some raccoons had gotten them, smashed them. That was a happier thought than had a passer by done it, for animals are creatures of habit without moral values even if they have temporal souls (while we humans have eternal souls). [See the section in The Catechism of the Catholic Church on "souls", as St. Thomas Aquinas did masterful writing and had great insights, well-thought out, on the topic of plant and animal, and human, souls.]
Then, over the past week or so, there has developed a situation at the roadside table in which I place out gorgeous, mounded quarts of berries and tomatoes (cherry-size plus some small plum-size beauties). When I'd go out to check if there needed to be more produce and to collect any contributions, I discovered a "nibbler" had been there. Quarts were nibbled down halfway--not all but one or two or so.
Well, this was rather discouraging, for I strive to provide "omnia pro Deo"--all for God and my best for God for others even in quarts of produce. I like it to be bounteous and beautiful, fresh-picked, and sumptuous-tasting. So if quarts are nibbled down and I do not catch it, some other passer-by may not get the full benefit of bounty and generosity.
(I never suggest donation amounts for I am striving to detach and totally let God provide. People may or may not contribute, and I learn to see my own reactions and accept if there is nothing or something, little or much. It works well this way for my spiritual progress as well as to see how greatly God provides, helps me pay the water bill, compost cost, seeds and plant start costs, and this summer left over to pay my medical bills that popped up unexpectedly.)
So when I first noticed The Nibbler's effects, I was a bit discouraged and put out, frankly. I considered a small sign at the table saying that if one is hungry or cannot contribute, that is all right--to just take the quart and enjoy it! But then I decided to wait to see if it would continue.
It did. The Nibbler (or perhaps there are more than one nibblers) continued to snack, nibbling down quarts part-way--but also began leaving contributions for the snack. I figure The Nibbler may be a hiker or cyclist who enjoys the refreshment and wholesome energy boost, en route. There is nothing remotely nearby, otherwise, to get anything to eat or drink.
And I started to notice that The Nibbler began to leave contributions for the half-quart of snacking. And I noticed that the contributions were more than generous--plus, if I'd get my head and heart turned Godward, I could see how masterful the Master in making me do more walking and picking to fill up the quarts and return them to the roadside table. The contributions tend to me more than what i could hope for in a full quart contribution from generous passers-by.
I make out very well, particularly in learning to appreciate The Nibbler for providing me with yet another lesson in perspective and in turning all to God in the positive ways of goodness and fruitfulness that God always provides if we see it His way. Someone gets a delicious snack along his or her route; I get more exercise and stretching in walking and bending, picking, and replacing; and I also get, most of the time, probably more a tangible contribution than had a person taken the full quart.
(Sometimes people leave nothing or very little; and my perspective on that is learning the positive of detachment, trust, appreciation and the reminder that all this is God's creation and effort, even down to the energy and ability for me to plant, water, and pick.)
Definitely, I can praise God for The Nibbler. I see that I am by far the beneficiary of all good in this effort of a little roadside table and offering fresh, organic produce which depends upon what has grown, ripened, and people desire. The crows twice got the corn plantings before I realized they were the sneaky culprits.
I learned about "row covers", and now I'm awaiting with hope, if the weather holds, some corn beyond the 8 ears thus far that the crows did not snatch early on of the plantings. Yet, a raccoon or two has become "nibblers", and I am dealing with them in a man v. nature mode. The bird-netting for the berries had a brown rat in it the other day, and I apologized to the rat but explained I was not a saint and thus did not quite have it in me at this phase of my spiritual development, to reach in and try to untangle it.
I prayed and asked the Lord to ease it from this life peacefully, as the critter was toward the end of its struggle when I happened upon it. The next morning, some other creature had enjoyed sustenance; the rat had been disposed of, probably in a hawks maw and stomach. I shared this experience with the grandson who called this morning. He, age 9, informed me of the scientific term and concept: nature's food chain.
Praise God for The Nibblers, human and creaturely! Praise God for bounteous produce, for all He gives us to eat and share, and for generous contributors in our daily lives. God provides!