My Mother’s Day request seemed simple enough. “A long drive,” I said. “Nowhere in particular.” It was unseasonably cool but sufficiently sunny. Cabin fever a la COVID-19 was setting in. Little did I know by the end of the day we’d have two new furry friends.
We call him “Blackberry” Her name is “Dandelion.” Somehow, we convinced each other this was just what the grands needed. Yeah. Don’t let their sweet innocence fool you.
While waiting on a proper hutch, we’ve developed a workable routine. At night we tuck them into a big plastic tub with soft wood shavings in the garage. Each morning we release them to graze in a makeshift pen. They receive a steady supply of attention from the grands. Plus field greens, dandelions, and vegetable trimmings fit for a gourmet.
Blackberry gets his kicks by racing like a mad hatter in training for the 100-yard dash. He agitates Dandelion, who cannot resist the allure of an open horizon. She’s escaped four times in two days. Vocab lesson #1: escapee, i.e. rabbit on the run. The grandgirls test variations of this exciting new word. “GiGi! Bunny ‘scaped!”
There is an art to catching a bunny, it seems, and I haven’t mastered it. They zig, I zag. “I’m about pooped out,” I complain to anyone who might listen. “That’s five minutes off your bed-time, GiGi!” declares Beasie, who never misses a beat. “You said a potty word!” Vocab lesson #2: pooped, as in tired.
These are ungrateful bunnies, won’t you agree? They live in the lap of luxury. Lush grass and tasty dandelions. Companionship. Comfortable shelter. Yet they stretch their necks, sniff the breeze, and follow their compulsion to flee.
They don’t know what I know. About the family of foxes just down the road. That bald eagles often glide overhead. Good golly, a mountain lion was sighted this spring! So many perils outside the pen. At what cost, complete freedom?
Our bunnies have become comically predictable. Bolting like bandits, they seek safe space beneath the back porch steps. The Hubs is a master at handling animals. He approaches quietly, slowly, until close enough to take hold. In the security of his embrace, they stop wriggling. When he releases them into the safety of their pen, they are content once again. (For now, at least.)
I suspect God sees in me some of what I see in these wascally wabbits. Ungrateful. Self-absorbed. Overly confident in abilities He, Himself, granted. Focused on what I want — or imagine that I need. Discontented. Impatient. Impulsive. So often, I’ve failed to appreciate God’s best for me.
I know it’s not just me. The ancient Israelites were a test case for ill-advised willfulness, aptly recorded in 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles. Over the months I’ve tracked them, they have become so predictable. Not much has changed, all these generations later. We insist on having our way, seldom learning from others’ mistakes. If God weren’t so patient, we might hear him laugh at our (all-too-predictable) predicaments.
“What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
Yes, indeed. Kingdoms rise and fall. Success is as fickle as the wind. Wealth and possessions neither satisfy nor protect us from a world gone COVID cray-cray. Despite our climbing, scrambling, hoarding inclinations, things of this world are destined for dust.
No doubt, I’m as predictable to God as our bunnies are to me. He knows my tendency to try to take charge of my destiny. He knows where I will hide when panic sets in. He rescues me with open arms, ever so gentle. He shelters me in a safe space, designed with everything I need. Perfect peace prevails; there is nowhere else I’d rather be.
I think this must be what the psalmist discovered eons ago, as recorded in Psalm 23.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadowof death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
P.S. Vocab lesson #3: barricade. As in, barricade these bunnies from the carpet.
It’s raining hard and our makeshift pen is about to collapse — again. The weight of droplets collecting on the tarp positioned to curtail their instinct for freedom is just too much. I bring them to the porch for a play date. Giggle and grins, let the bunny fun begin!