Everybody’s heard of the Elf on the Shelf. Some people also have the privilege of having a “Bun on the Run.” I’m special that way.
I have a whole family of bunnies in different colors and sizes on my kitchen table. I originally had two bunnies… but, you know, they are rabbits. They multiplied, as rabbits are wont to do. See my own personal Rabbit Hole:
Here is where Archibald, Arabella, Wynken, Blinken, Nod, Tumble, Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Mo live from Ash Wednesday until Easter. Most people give up chocolate for Lent. I indulge in bunny hunting. Every morning, Max hides a bunny somewhere in the front living area of our house and I stalk the missing “bun on the run.”
My bunnies have an active life. They have individual personalities. They manage a series of complex, interconnected relationships. At least they do in my own mind.
Archibald and Arabella are the mommy and daddy bunnies. Archibald always looks long-suffering. He doesn’t have two carrots to rub together. Arabella, frankly, always looks exhausted. She is afraid she is losing her girlish charm. Archibald and Arabella, being the largest, are the easiest to find. This is a problem for them because all they really want is five minutes of peace and quiet away from those kids.
The diaper babies (Wynken, Blinken, Nod, and Tumble) are also easy to find. They are each about the size of a ping pong ball. Wynken and Blinken are very close and never go anywhere without each other. Nod tends to fall asleep as a defense mechanism against his chaotic childhood. Tumble is a little behind his siblings developmentally and is always “falling” behind!
Those newborn siblings (Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Mo) are the sneaky ones. They are out of control. You cannot blame Archibald and Arabella too much. Just imagine if you gave birth to quadruplet babies while still having quadruplets in diapers at home. Rabbits running rampant is the requisite result of riotous reproduction. Kids, please do not try this at home.
I often need several hints to find the hiding newborns. They are each just a touch bigger than a cube of cheese… or the tip of a baby carrot. Meenie and Miney are especially clever at the game. They are the most competitive of all the kids and like to “get one over” on each other… and on me.
The first time I almost gave up on the game of bunny hide and seek was when Miney decided to hide on a small support disk under the kitchen table. This first picture shows what the scene looked like before I started rummaging about looking for Miney. The second picture shows him perched on the table support. Would you have found him?
The next time I almost surrendered, Meenie was hiding in the wireless television headphones. Various creatures- both bunnies and elves- have sidled over to the headphones before, but this was the first time one actually climbed INSIDE the ear covers. It was kind of gruesome… like the earwig scene in the Wrath of Kahn. Happily, I found Meenie before some poor sap unknowingly donned the headphones and had a rabbit burrow through his or her brain. Again, here are pictures of what I saw before I found Meenie and what I saw once I spotted him.
I have a couple of weeks left of my bunny quests. Both Max and I are enjoying them. We live such a full and rewarding life!
Your turn? Where would a bunny hide in your house? Why would you WANT to hide a bunny in your house? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
P.S. I know Easter is more than bunny running. It is the most important day of the year to me. As I write this, it is a beautiful spring day and I am just playing with y’all!
a picture of a church on Facebook.
Outside the church, the message board read, “Had Not Planned On Giving
Up Quite This Much For Lent.” Ain’t that
the truth? Since the world closed up shop in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis,
it does seem like this Lent is laying the whole fasting thing on a bit
thick. No restaurants. No amusement parks. No shopping malls. No live performances. No group
activities. No vacations. No hugs. And I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone giving
up buying toilet paper and disinfectant wipes for lent before. This has to be
the lentiest lent that ever lent.
people say that this pandemic is an omen.
They believe the contagion is God’s judgment on a wicked world. They see
our current times as the end of times. Maybe
they are right. It is hard not to feel
some sense of doom in this time of disease and quarantine. The television and internet feeds us,
minute-by-minute, on the number of new cases and the number of dead. The curve is growing, not flattening. This is to be expected in the short term, as
we test more potential victims. There
has not been time yet for people who were initially infected to get well, so
the curve is still climbing. Even though
this analysis makes sense, it is easy to get caught up in a Doomsday
feeling. For those of us who believe
that God is all-powerful, it can be an easy logical leap to conclude that God caused
don’t put any limits on God. It is
possible that there is something to the Doomsday theory. I don’t really think
God works like that, though. I don’t
think He caused the pandemic to eliminate evil and destroy the
wicked. I do think, however, that He uses
the pandemic to help transform us into the people He wants us to be. Now that
we are forced to fast from many of our favorite leisure activities, we have
more time to spend in prayer, Scripture-reading, and thoughtful consideration
of our life’s purpose and goals. Now that we must forgo human touch, communal
church services, receiving the Eucharist, and sharing a meal, we may not take
these blessings for granted in the future.
Now that the most fun thing we do all week long is zip through the
Starbuck’s drive-through (while trying not to breathe), we will be more
grateful for those trips to Disney and other more exciting places. Now that we cannot meet with people
face-to-face, we are developing our community-building and care-taking skills
in more creative ways.
one of those people who do tend to get stir crazy and bored when I stay at home
for more than a day or two. Weirdly, I
am neither right now. I’ve been
productive in my weeks of isolation.
I’ve overcome some of my social anxiety tics and am staying connected
with people. Some of my relationships are
even growing richer and closer. I’ve
focused my pent-up energy on projects like figuring out a system for conference
call and video meetings. I’m writing
more. I’ve tackled a few big chores that
I have been deferring for months. I’m
thinking more than reacting. My mind is
not as busy or bustling, but I am thinking clearer. I’ve spent more time with
God. I’m working on several prayer
projects- praying deliberately and intensely for certain people multiple times
while I did not intend to give up so much for Lent, I think God is using my
enforced mega-fast to do exactly what Lent is supposed to do. He allows me to partner with Him to cleanse,
grow, and ripen my soul. I delight in
the paths He shows me during this time. I am trying to follow them because I believe
that God has a purpose for each of us and that purpose is unique to each of
us. I’ve tried to find that purpose all
my life, in every job and relationship I’ve had. The trail hasn’t always been as clearly
marked as it is this Lent. Still, I
believe God is teaching me in everything I do, so I try to be patient and
trust. As the Bible says in Romans 8:28,
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for
those who are called according to his purpose.”
coronavirus lent has been good for my spiritual development. Still, like
everyone else, I look forward to the day when it is over. I am excited to face a resurrection of
activities and contacts. The sun will
shine brighter, and our emotional muscles will be able to take a little
rest. We will be able to mourn the
losses we sustain, but we’ll also be able to move towards healing in a
different way- perhaps with more kindness and care-taking of each other. All this time we’ve spent in isolation prepares
us for that day.
let’s not forget that we have a more immediate, even more beautiful
Resurrection to celebrate. We’ve spent the last forty days preparing to rejoice
anew that Christ is risen. Sunday is Easter, the most triumphant day in the
Christian year. God will remind us again
that what we thought we had lost is not lost at all… in fact, it is more
brilliant and more wonderful than we can possibly understand. Jesus- through His life, suffering, and death-
brought us back to at-one-ment with God.
Because of Him, we are God’s adopted children. We are part of a loving, connected, holy
family which can never be destroyed. We are never in isolation or quarantine
when we follow the risen Lord!
has lent been like for you this year, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis? Do you feel that you have transformed in some
way, as we approach Easter? Please share
your perspective by leaving a comment.
In the alternative, you can email me at email@example.com.
Elf on the Shelf is so last Christmas.
In my household, we have moved on to a pre-Easter ritual I am calling
the Bun on the Run.
let it be said that I don’t know how to milk every ounce of absurdity out of a
tradition. Max and I had such a good
time hunting for Kringle, my little elf on the shelf, in December, he suggested
we adapt the game to search for a runaway bunny each morning during the Easter
season. I decided to leave no silliness
unturned. We hopped off to Hobby Lobby to buy a small bunny Max could hide each
morning. Of course, one bunny was not
enough. After all, we are talking about rabbits
here. I now have a large herd (or
whatever you call mass quantities of cohabitating bunnies) of rabbits grazing
on my breakfast nook table. These
rabbits are various shapes and sizes, making them suitable for hiding in
virtually any location Max finds each morning. We bought some of them at Hobby
Lobby and some I painted back in the 1980s in a ceramics class. Their names are Arabella, Archibald, Eenie,
Meenie, Miney, Mo, Winken, Blinken, Nod, and Tumble. I used to also have a Sage. Sadly, she was killed in a tragic dusting
started the bunny-running activity the day after Ash Wednesday. Each morning, a bunny makes a break for
freedom. According to legend (which I
have just made up), when the bunny hears me coming, he burrows down in a secret
place to wait for me to get tired of searching.
That has not yet happened. Although
sometimes I do need a hint.
bunnies are enjoying their morning exercise and have landed in some interesting
places. One morning, Miney landed
between the reverently folded hands of Clare the Prayer Bear. Eenie was partial to the telephone
Bun on the Run hunt sometimes takes an inordinate amount of time in the
mornings. Some mornings, I’ve asked for
a hint long before I normally would have because there was someplace I needed
to be and I could not imagine explaining my tardiness by blaming a wayward fake
rabbit, I have to admit that I’ve even
asked Max not to let the bun run too far on a given morning because we had to
get cracking on the day in a less leisurely manner than permitted by our normal
bun hunt. These tedious distractions
from the hunt (i.e. “real life”) also happened at Christmas time, but it seems
that they have been popping up much more this season.
makes me wonder if I am trying to crowd way too many things into my life. For me, the goal of retirement was to slow
down and not do things in the most efficient way humanly possible all the
time. I was tired of hopping and wanted
to meander. Now, I seem to be hopping
faster than the bunnies. It is a wakeup
will freely admit that hunting for runaway bunnies is not exactly a traditional
Lenten observance. For Lent this year, I
am doing some things to nurture my spiritual development. I would not include hunting for bunnies in
that list. However, I’m now thinking
that the bunnies have taught me something that is critical to spiritual
development. It is easy to let life get
overscheduled and out of control. It is
easy to let activities master me instead of me mastering the activities. I am doing so many things- maintaining
relationships, exercising, coordinating the hospitality for our church’s Alpha
program, facilitating an Alpha small group, delivering meals to the homebound,
leading an Episcopal Churchwomen’s chapter, preparing and delivering
devotionals and programs for the Episcopal Churchwomen’s chapter and general
meetings, participating in a fundraising activity for a local school, carving
out time for fun, and, sometimes… maybe… sleep.
activity, no matter how much fun or how satisfying or how ministerial it may be
can be a distraction to my relationship with God if I let it. My time for Scripture study and prayer often
comes at the end of the day, before I go to bed… after I have finished up
whatever remaining walking I must do to hit my 6 miles a day. I’m not sure my
prayer is ready for prime time. I try to
cleanse my mind and concentrate, but I know I could do better. I know this because I’ve learned I have to do
my Scripture reading and prayer standing up.
When I lay down, I fall asleep.
I’m sure the mental noise and busy-ness of the day interfere with my
quality time with the Lord.
If I feel like I’m too pressed for time to hunt for bunnies… or pray without passing out… maybe it’s time for me to take God’s hand and let Him slow me down to a little bit. Who am I kidding? It will probably take a training collar!
What techniques do you use to prioritize and balance your time, once you don’t have a job to force you into a routine? Now that you get to decide what and how much to do, what keeps you from getting overscheduled? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Someone I know once said that people should be careful what they wish for when they pray for faith. Sometimes, God just gives them faith. Sometimes, He sends challenges to help them develop their faith muscles. Sometimes, He puts them in situations to show them just how much faith they already have. In short, at least two out of three of those options tend to be uncomfortable.
Last Lent, I felt like I was on a pretty good path of spiritual development. I felt like I had been spending years lazily luxuriating in a big, soft Catholic feather bed. I had been comfortable for a long time, but had not really done anything to grow or focus my faith. When I retired, I began investing more time and energy into spiritual development. I was participating in a program called “Best Lent Ever” and it kind of was. Every day, the administrators of the program sent me an email with a video message, Scripture readings, reflection questions, and suggested activities. I opened my heart and my mind. I felt like I was learning a lot. I journaled about the program’s reflections every day. Sometimes, I even posted comments on the program’s discussion boards. In short, I felt like I really took last Lent as an opportunity to deepen my commitment and understanding.
This Lent, not so much. The church I have been attending has offered Lenten activities, but I haven’t been able to summon the energy to attend. I started going to Sunday school a few months ago, but have missed several sessions lately. I even missed the service a few weeks ago when I messed up on the whole “springing ahead” thing. In general, I feel like I’ve just kept stumbling over my feet this Lent without making any spiritual progress.
Some of you might point out that my stumbling has not been confined to spiritual progress. You would be correct. Since my mother’s stroke and the ensuing chaos in my external and internal life, I’ve been fairly lacking in competency in any arena. I sort of stumble through everything now. And maybe that is really more in keeping with the spirit of Lent than my activities with the “Best Lent Ever” program.
I think maybe God puts us in whatever desert He thinks we need for Lent. Last year, I was just starting to re-examine the depth and maturity of my faith. Maybe God wanted to tempt me to continue by providing me exactly what makes me comfortable- orderly growth and tidy spiritual development.
But no one gets to Easter without going through Calvary. This Lent, I think perhaps God is using the sad path I am navigating to grow and develop my spirituality. It isn’t orderly or tidy. It is certainly not comfortable. But it seems to be my Calvary. I try to accept His will and offer up my pain for love.
I’m not equating my struggles in any way with those of Jesus at the Crucifixion. In fact, I am clear on the fact that no one will ever have to endure the complete pain and emptiness that Jesus experienced on His Calvary, simply because He did experience it. He endured it exactly so we would never have to. And, truly, the challenges I’m experiencing are nothing when compared to those that many other people battle. Still, I don’t think God minds too much when I complain and cry over my difficulties…. Especially when it is to Him I cry.
This Easter, I will rise above my difficulties and celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection. I will try to rejoice that, just as I share Calvary in my very small, weak way, I will one day also share in the Resurrection.
Have you done anything special to prepare for Easter this year? How has it been working for you? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at email@example.com.
When I started working, I did not select my career with my Christianity in mind. To be honest, I’m not sure I selected it at all. I had just finished college with a fresh out of the oven degree in English. I was working at my minimum wage college job. I had a brand new husband, who was a full time graduate student. He needed brand new food every brand new day. When the chance for federal employment was offered, I took the job for purely temporal reasons.
That doesn’t mean that, for the 33 plus years I worked, I left my faith at the door. While my job description wasn’t particularly missionary, I believed that God expected me to live a mission. I spent my career purposely, consciously, and genuinely trying to make each decision from a place of goodness and to be a light in the world to the people I encountered. The fuel for that light was Jesus. I often fell short. I was not always a good example or a beacon of Christ’s light. I simply trusted that, when I did succeed in my mission through the wisdom and grace God granted me, the Lord would use that work to let others see Him and His love.
When I retired, I was tired and worn down in my very soul. I looked forward to my retirement as a period of rest and relaxation, my years of work being done. I did rest and it has taken a very long time for my spirit to relax. Now, I realize my work is not done. My workplace is different and the conditions are unfamiliar, but I am sure God still has a mission for me.
I believe I am called, like St. Therese of Lisieux, to live an ordinary life with extraordinary love. There is still some life left for me to fill, using God’s grace, with extraordinary love.
I am writing about reinventing myself in retirement. This Easter season, I have been journeying towards a spiritual reinvention, or, at least, a spiritual reinvigoration. I’ve been participating in a Best Lent Ever program. It is a series of daily email video reflections. It is offered through www.dynamiccatholic.com. You might want to check it out. Even non Catholics might be interested. Really, anyone with a spiritual orientation that includes Jesus, even tangentially, might find it useful.
In working on my spiritual reinvention this Lent, www.dynamiccatholic has helped me remember some valuable lessons.
When I give in to shyness and avoid people, I put my Jesus light under a bushel and miss potential opportunities to provide comfort and extraordinary love.
When I get impatient and rushed, I miss the opportunity to be absolutely present in the moment, to cherish the joy that God gives that moment.
When my heart flashes with irritation and anger, I miss the opportunity to gain understanding and closeness.
Moving forward, I know that I will forget these lessons and will fall short. I also know that God has more lessons for me. I will try to keep an open heart and be available to His teaching, as I strive to be a carrier of extraordinary love.
The real lesson of Easter, though, is that, no matter how many times I fail, I am forgiven. Jesus saw to that.
Happy Resurrection! I know that not everyone believes as I do, but Easter seems like a great time to remind ourselves that reinvention can be sacred as well as secular.
What do you think? Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a happy and blessed Easter!