Raccoon Trails


Lea’s dad loved to feed nature’s bandits, the neighborhood raccoons, that is.  Behind huge open windows, we would watch nature’s parade of curious and hungry creatures.  RaccoonLoaded with piles of dog food, the back porch was an open invitation that provided a pretty entertaining spectacle.  We’d stare as these furry little guys poured out of the woods and made a beeline to the food.  As many as 30 raccoons would trample through the grass, rushing to gorge themselves on the delicious morsels.  We’d sit in amazement at the little paws that would reach up and touch the windows as if to say, “More, please!” It’s safe to say, we had the fattest raccoons in all of western Washington.

For more than 20 years these raccoons would carve trails in and out of the woods.  But when Lea’s dad passed away, the raccoon trails disappeared underneath the new vegetation.  Even after generations of raccoons had destroyed nature’s beauty, the woods sprang back to life.

There’s a picture.  Patterns of thought are a lot like trampled raccoon trails.  Whatever you feed puts patterns and imprints on your mind. Consequently, if you stop feeding it, the wildlife will grow and be lush and beautiful again.  If we quit feeding negative thoughts, then our tendency to view life negatively will weaken and eventually disappear. “Take captive every thought” (2 Corin. 10:5).  We must learn to isolate every thought before it spirals into a raccoon trail.

“Learned optimism works…through the power of non-negative thinking,” says Dr. Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism and Authentic Happiness.  Change patterns of thought by isolating a negative thought and responding to it.  “It is how you cope with negative statements that has an effect,” reiterates Seligman.  Challenge a negative thought and attack it with the truth.  It is only then that wind will blow and the dust settle, leaving a clean, unmarked trail path.


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