Basket of Figs

Published 2001-09

Bud Powell

Trinity Covenant RCUS, Colorado Springs


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Random Acts of Kindness?


When I was a boy it was great fun to drive with my family to Crater Lake, in southern Oregon.  In those days it was an all-day trip for my dad’s Model A Ford, so we did not go often.  Usually on a holiday like the Fourth of July a couple of my uncles would join us with their families  [or we would join them], and caravan our Model A’s up the mountain to one of the most beautiful spots in the world.   For us kids it was almost a religious ritual.


Centuries ago, the volcano blew its top and a lake of pristine blue beauty formed in the crater.  I can still remember the breathlessness that came with the first view of the lake as we rounded the mountain top.


It was fun to feed the chipmunks.  There were hundreds of them.  We came with peanuts, bread, and cookies and they would come scampering across the rock—dozens of them.  It was great fun.


I was at Crater Lake a few years ago.  I was now a grandfather and my uncles were gone—only my mother and a couple of sisters-in-law were left in her family.


There were still chipmunks at Crater Lake.  There were also signs everywhere—Do Not Feed the Chipmunks.  It seems that when chipmunks were given food that was not natural to them, they developed diseases and the population was placed in jeopardy.  They would be much healthier if they gathered their own natural food.


There is a lesson in all this.  Random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty can be dangerous.  We loved the chipmunks and it was beautiful, we thought, to see them scamper across the rocks and run off with bits of peanuts and cookies stored in their cheeks.  We were killing them in our ignorance.  Our senseless acts of kindness were deadly to them.


Man was not created to act senselessly and randomly, in spite of the bumper sticker.  Man is to use his head, to gather scientific knowledge, and act in wisdom and judgment.  Romantic foolishness is the cause of a great deal of evil in the world and not just to chipmunks.  The stakes are much higher when humans are victimized by random acts of kindness and senseless beauty, financed by tax dollars and administered by romantic fools.


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