The 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.
Never 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 accident.
We 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.
My 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 cradle.
This 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.
This 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 call.
Now, I 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.
Any 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.
Have a hippity hoppity day!