Have you ever seen an opossum or possum as most in the United States call them? They are omnivore (eating mostly vegetables and fruit and a little meat) mammals.
Skittles is a possum that lives in Virginia, USA. He is cute for a possum. He has 50 teeth, fur, big mouth with a long snout, pink nose, and a long hairless tail. Skittles uses his tail like other possums, carrying light objects like twigs and leaves. His tail is not strong enough to support him if he were to hang from it upside down.
Early in his life, his mom noticed he was skittish and frightened easily. At first, skittles hid behind his mom if he was frightened. As he grew older, his behavior got worse.
One day while walking in the woods, they heard a bobcat. This frightened Skittles terribly. He screamed and fell on his side as though dead! Skittles lie with his eyes partially shut, mouth open and foaming.
“Skittles, what’s wrong? What are you doing?” his mom asked.
He didn’t move, even when she prodded him. He stayed that way for over an hour. She sat by his side. Finally, he woke.
“Skittles, are you all right? What made you “play possum?”
“What is “playing possum?”
“Playing possum” is when we become cornered with a real threat. We go into a deep sleep or comma in which we fall on our side with an open and foaming mouth, and look dead. Most of us only do this in extreme circumstances. Normally, we possums stand up on our back legs and bare our teeth and growl. This action normally makes the threat go away. You skipped that part all together.”
“I heard the bobcat and thought it was after us. It would have eaten us.”
“Skittles, the bobcat was a long way off. It wasn't aware we were here. The bobcat was probably calling to a friend. Don’t worry.”
“I’m sorry, I was frightened.”
“Let’s hurry, we’re late. She will be expecting us.”
“Do we have to go to Aunt Helen’s? I don’t like climbing her tree. It’s slippery and I’m afraid I’ll fall.”
“Come on. You’ll do fine. You’re a strong sure footed climber. Don’t worry.”
Skittles frowned, folded up his under lip, and followed his mom. They didn’t have far to go. At the base of the large tree, Skittles stood looking up.
“See the moss? It’s slippery.” he said.
“Skittles, all the trees have moss on them.”
“This one has more.”
“That’s because it’s shielded better from the sun. Aunt Helen has a nice spot with good shade and it’s comfy. Let’s go. I’ll follow you. Will that make you feel better?”
Skittles started his climb, taking it slow.
“Hurry a little bit, or we won’t get to the top until tomorrow.”
“Okay.” said Skittles.
Skittles was over halfway up when his front right foot and back left foot lost traction. “Oh, no!” he said as he slipped. His paws grabbed hold as he hugged the tree. “I almost fell! I could have knocked you down too! We would have landed all the way to the ground. It’s terribly far. I would have….”
Down he went. Bumped into his mom and fell all the way to the ground with a thud.
“Skittles!” she said as she scurried down after him.
He lay on the ground not moving, in the same way as before. She didn’t know if he was “playing possum” or was actually dead.
“Skittles wake up. Please be pretending. Speak to me. “
Aunt Helen came down the tree looking for them. “What happened?”
Skittle’s mom explained and Aunt Helen waited with her.
Skittles stayed that way for over an hour. Then he twitched. A few more twitches and he fluttered his eyes open. “Mom? What happened?”
“You got scared and fell from the tree. I’m not sure if you slipped or passed out from fright.”
“I knew the tree was slippery. I was afraid. I thought we would both be hurt.”
“I believe you were able to climb that tree fine. You got yourself in a fix by worrying. When you worry you make yourself “play possum.” It’s a way your body and mind deal with all the worry you place on yourself. You've climbed that tree many times and not had trouble. Thinking and dwelling on it made you fret and worry. Worrying made you go to sleep. Worry is not healthy and you need to stop doing it.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll try not to.”
“Let me check you for injury.” she said.
She touched all around his body and got to his leg, when he cried out. The leg was broken. She went in search of things she needed while Aunt Helen stayed with him. A strong straight twig she used to immobilize the leg. Then she wrapped a vine around securing it to his leg. She helped him up. They said good bye to Aunt Helen and made their way home.
Skittles learned not to worry and he hardly ever “played possum” unless it was a real crisis, like the time the grey fox attacked. But that’s another story.
Children, do you worry, or give your cares to the Lord? Do you talk things over with your parents and let them help you? These are things we need to do in order to keep worry away. The choice is yours. A while ago, I talked about worrying and the damage worry could cause your emotions and health. We should cast our cares, problems, and worries on the Lord and He will take care of them. You can read more about worry HERE
Memorize one or more: Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on… Verse 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ or “what shall we wear?’… For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Verse 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Verses in NKJV unless otherwise stated.