He probably hadn’t been in there for more than an hour, but he was certainly not happy about his new living situation. As I cooked myself some dinner one night, his raucous struggle became audible to me, and being the ever curious
boy man that I am, I peered out the window to discover his plight. He had bought into the trap; the smell of food or hormones or whatever they use as bait, had found its way into his nostrils and triggered a deep desire, one deep enough to coax him right into the cage, and now he was stuck. The cage was probably about three times his size and he had done a good job of contorting his body so as to look as helpless as possible when I saw him.
“Let’s name him Rocky!” one of my roommates exclaimed. This name seemed fitting since I think there is some epic poem or song about a raccoon named Rocky.
My other roommate was not as happy about the new tenant. You see, the trap was placed right out in front of his window. The very same window that lets the morning sun into his room.
A few minutes passed, and Rocky showed no signs of relaxing or quieting down, so my roommate decided to take initiative and make some calls to see if any of the apartment complex workers could possibly move Rocky’s one room apartment to a different location for the evening.
His request was answered around 11pm when a bedhead touting maintenance worker showed up inquiring about our new friend. We sullenly showed him the way, and as he carried off Rocky I couldn’t help but wave goodbye knowing that I most likely wouldn’t be seeing Rocky anytime soon.
Well the night came and went, and everyone rested peacefully. In the morning the only reminder of our friend from the previous night was an overturned plant and some footprints in the soft soil. I did my best to keep myself composed as I went through the rhythms of the day. When I returned home that afternoon I was surprised to see that the apartment had installed another almost identical apartment to the one that Rocky had lived in underneath the same window. I informed my roommate of this and advised him to have the structure removed now while it was uninhabited and there were maintenance workers buzzing about.
You see, we now knew that the plot of land outside of my roommate’s window was prime real estate, and with this new found enlightenment comes responsibility. We were now responsible for fixing the situation before a new tenant moved in. If we were to wait for a new tenant, and then complain only when she or he made noise, well that is just foolish when this problem could have been adverted well in advance.
I think the same is true in life. As I grow and hunger for more and different forms of enlightenment I am often unaware of the immense amount of responsibility that comes with it, and to gain enlightenment but fail to own up to the responsibilities only shows my weakness, my inability to truly handle enlightenment.
You say you want enlightenment, good! I hope we all continually strive to learn more and understand more, but we have to remember that enlightenment isn’t cheap, and the accompanying responsibility is only part of the joy of enlightenment. It’s something we should delight in, something that proves that we are worthy of the enlightenment that we gained, but at the same time it is a burden.
As I looked out of our window this morning I noticed that the raccoon trap was still there, luckily empty, but I know a day will come when the fate of Rocky befalls another poor soul, and on that day we will have to live with the decision that we did not have the cage removed when we first saw its return.