Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

 That an escaped rabbit could bring such delight to children and mommy alike. 
Praise Him!
That children delight in mimicking my baking, stretching, and parenting. 
"Mommy, if you get tired while we're walking, you can hold my hand." 
Praise Him!
That broken branches of seeds and pods found in the streets 
can be the embellishments of my home. 
Praise Him!
That the hills rise up out of the city, 
and that trees fall dead on their dusty slopes. 
Praise Him!
That when I sit down to eat, I never have to apologize for the meager portions at any meal. Praise Him!
That barefoot boys raise ruckus. 
Praise Him!
That houses foster gatherings of home-baked pies and home-baked people.
Praise Him!
 That tenderness need not be taught among the tenderhearted. 
Praise Him!
That when I lay down to sleep every night, 
I have no terror of destruction or enemies or oppressive spirits or haunting memories. 
That the walls of my home and the walls of my heart 
are guarded by a great and powerful God 
who orchestrates and mends both in its proper time.
Praise Him!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Rabbit

Everything I know about rabbits I learned from Richard Adams' Watership Down. 

1. Rabbits can be ferocious fighters.
2. Hutch rabbits are idiots.
3. Rabbits do not like to pass droppings in their burrows.
4. Rabbits can swim.
5. Rabbits don't walk single-file or make very long sprints.
6. Rabbits can only count up to four.
7. Female rabbits are the ones that usually dig burrows.
8. Rabbits can be so scared that they freeze or drop dead.
9. If conditions are too bad, female rabbits can absorb their unborn young into their bodies.

Unfortunately all that nonsense—Or who knows? Maybe it's true.—hasn't helped me understand the nature of owning a rabbit as a pet.

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the front yard with the children when Joan, our neighbor across the street, asked if we'd seen the rabbit. A rabbit! Why, that could provide a good ten minutes of entertainment. We hustled up the street to where our other neighbor, Brenda, and her two daughters, Kayla and Corin, were trying to lure a small gray rabbit out from under their mini cooper with a stalk of asparagus. We joined the fun, chasing the little rabbit from one car to the next. Lee succeeded in getting it to take a few bites from the asparagus stalk, and Brenda brought out her dog carrying cage and a broom.

We chased the rabbit under cars and to our side of the street. With a carrot in one hand, I was able to grab the rabbit and drop it into the cage. Now what? We agreed to divide the responsibilities. Brenda would post the "Lost Rabbit" signs. Joan would post something on our neighborhood website. I would take care of the rabbit. Three weeks later, we are still rabbit owners. I'm rather glad that no one claimed it.

The children were over the moon. It ate from our hands and let us pet it. The children kept exclaiming, "Mommy, do we have a pet?" or "I'm gonna go check on the rabbit."

In the past Phil and I have told the children stories about Bigwig, Fiver, and Hazel from Watership Down, so the children wanted to call our rabbit Bigwig even though it's neither big nor wig-like nor a boy rabbit. Oh well.

A week later and we built a hutch out of leftover wood scrapes, chicken wire, and roofing material. The backyard is rabbit-proofed for the daytime wanderings, and we've been putting Bigwig in her hutch at night to keep her safe from coyotes and cats and wolves and bears and things of this nature. We have already spotted a hawk resting on our telephone lines above our backyard. I hope the rabbit survives for more than a month.
 Already Bigwig is teaching the children all sorts of new lessons. Namely:
1. How to not scream at the rabbit
2. How to not jump on the trampoline when the rabbit is under it
3. How to not chase the rabbit
4. How to not poke the rabbit with Tinkertoys
5. How to not poke the rabbit with carrots
5. How to leave the rabbit hutch's gate shut
6. How to leave the backyard gate shut
7. How to chase the rabbit if it escapes
8. And how to built little make-believe houses for the rabbit out of wood scraps.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Escaped Surgery Patients!

Wounded by wrongs, real or false, I know
For treatment I must to the doctor go. 
There answers cut open my heart like knives,
And a fount of forgiveness freely I may imbibe.

But oft' when ill feelings’ have found their source—
Her indifference to regard me as I like, of course—,
I recoil at the image in this 'luminating mirror 
And assign this diagnosis to another who’s near.

“Perhaps that’s why she's so hostile to me—
No accolades I sing her, no recognition's free.
And I with her censures cannot agree.
She too must need insight for errors to see.”

“Maybe I can play doctor on her soul with this light,
And charge not a penny for my wise insight.
Just a simple apology and the esteem I deserve
For diagnosis and operation on what I observe.”

Thus I by my scruples decode then her own
Neglecting that heart where insight's been shown:
The heart I call mine that leapt off the table
After doctor’s incision this vision enabled.

“The Lord won't etherize his patients,” devils say,
“Nor ties them down for the operation each day.
So lure them off before treatment commences,
And they to each other will be quite senseless.”

“Lure them with the gore that they see in each other,
With fault-finding, a past time aimed at a brother.
Seduce them out the door with a tantalizing mystery,
To find blame elsewhere but call it psychohistory.”

Then “STOP!” says a voice, a helper inside.
And I cease roving and look back wide-eyed. 
My wounds leave a trail to where the doctor still stands
In the operating room with my blood on his hands.

Must I with cut flesh to the table thus crawl,
When I have no heart but my own to o'erhaul?
And nodding to the doctor for him to proceed,
He'll operate simultaneously upon millions in need.

I’ll know not what he finds in family and friends
In the souls of this Body waiting to be cleansed.
Yet their blood with mine mingles in this joint operation
As we lay side by side in this, our salvation.

But if I flee the ward again and meet you in the halls,
Let's not wield plastic scalpels or push each other 'gainst the walls.
Let’s smile sheepishly and with courage understand
That we go best under the knife when we go hand in hand.