Once upon a time, I was walking through campus and in the distance saw a crowd had gathered around a tree.
Curious, I walked over and in the center there was a dog and a squirrel.
The squirrel minding its own business did not notice that every time he would duck behind the tree or turn around, the dog would creep closer.
Closer and closer and closer the dog kept creeping.
Not sensing its own demise, the dog finally lunged after the squirrel and in a blink of an eye had the squirrel in its mouth.
A couple of people from the crowd jumped in and pried the squirrel out.
But it was too late. The squirrel was dead.
[Of course, I didn’t really see this happen but the story is better told in the first person.]
So the question is, Why did it take so long for the crowd to react?
At any moment the bystanders could have warned the squirrel by scaring away the dog or even the squirrel itself.
Sometimes, we fail to act in the face of the inevitable because of things like social pressures or fear or status roles…but most of the time, it is because we fail to see what is actually happening until it’s too late.
We act like bystanders instead of agents of change.
We fail to see that we had the power, the choice to do something. To act before an outcome was “inevitable.”
Inevitable outcomes don’t come out of nowhere. Usually, they creep on us. One step at a time. It takes insight to see and guts to change them.