Well, I have just observed a bizarre occurrence outside the kitchen window. Our deck holds a pot of newly planted dahlias. They have grown about four inches high, giving lots of promise for beautiful blooms. If you are not familiar with the dahlia, think of a pompom. Remember those things that the cheerleaders used in high school or that you have seen the professional football cheerleaders use? Colorful, puffy! They will sway in the breeze. The thing that you plant looks like a small potato. The blooms are brightly colored puffballs. Anyway, back to the kitchen window. I watch a squirrel hop into the pot and furiously throw dirt around. Up comes the tuber. Oh no! This squirrel is going to eat my dahlia. Nope! The monstrous squirrel throws it on the deck, raises its head in a prideful stance, and hops off the deck. YIKES! Who knew that squirrels had a vendetta against dahlias?

Of course, that makes me wonder with whom I have a vendetta and what it takes to have a vendetta with anyone. A 2022 film starring Bruce Willis, titled “Vendetta,” tells the story of a father seeking retribution for the murder of his daughter and getting caught in a never-ending blood feud. Vendettas have been a part of human history forever. Clan warfare in the 19th century may have popularized the term. The root of the word is Italian, but regardless of the language, it always means a bloody sequence of battles.

I will tell you that I have a vendetta against that squirrel right now! All I can do is replant the tuber and hope that it survives the next attack. When you feel “put upon,” what do you do? Some will say that they pray for guidance and relief. Some will say that they ruminate in hopes that the sting of the injustice will pass. Others will bury the hurt to be kind and forgiving. Some will be able to let it go and offer genuine forgiveness. I am thinking of all the traps I can set for the squirrel.

We all must learn to manage adversity. The dahlia tuber is truly minor in the scheme of things. Life digs into and turns us around, and we must develop a way of responding to these hurts and traumas. None of us is immune. We must figure out how we will respond, what resources we will lean into, and where our supports lie. Your support can be spiritual, physical, interpersonal, intellectual, or a variety of other things. The important part to remember is that you must know your support system because the squirrel will inevitably dig up something of value.