The Rabbit Test genre: Hip-Gnosis & Six Degrees of Speculation & Uncivil Unions

The Lion And The Lamb

Nope, it’s not what you think. In actuality, it’s a follow up to my prior Thought Theater posting, Getting The Giggles When The Right Eats Its Own. In that posting, I talked about the need to do more than what’s convenient and self-serving…in essence that is encompassed in the concept of authenticity. As I thought about it further, an example came to mind.

My younger sister and I share a number of the same beliefs and we often engage in lengthy conversations on the phone…both of us looking to better understand this life and to determine the direction of our own behavior in relation to a world filled with people which we often find to be inauthentic. Both of us are emotional…in the fullest sense of the Italian stereotype…though my sister still has me bested by a good margin.

While talking on the phone last week, she began telling me a story. She has a backyard garden and over the years she has often commented that the wild rabbits are adept at savaging her garden…such that she tries different methods to protect her plants from their busy bunny teeth.

Well, she continued telling me that many times she has wished ill will upon the rabbits…they made her mad and she wanted them to be gone. Life…with its infinite ability to bring insight by shining a spotlight on our thoughts, feelings, and wishes…often brings forth tests that force us to examine the validity of those thoughts, feelings, and wishes.

In the process of preparing breakfast for her two sons, she happened to look out the kitchen window into the back yard. She quickly noticed a cat carrying a furry creature which it set down in the corner next to the brick wall of her barbecue pit. I could hear the emotion in her voice…something one learns to recognize with an amazing acuity.

As she tried to finish telling her story, her voice began to break and before she could complete the following words, she was clearly crying…she said, “I’ve hated those rabbits for years and the minute I realized that the cat had a baby rabbit in its grip, I felt terrible and I wanted to save it. About that time, the boys saw the cat and they said, ‘mom, that cat killed a rabbit’ I didn’t know what to do. I’m pretty sure the rabbit wasn’t dead but I didn’t want the boys to know that so I agreed with them…and I felt even worse. All I could think about was whether the mommy rabbit was watching as her baby was being killed by a cat…and how awful that would be."

By that time I’m fighting back tears because I know how kind and loving my sister is with her children and I understood the source of her pain…and I wanted to make it better for her just as she wanted to do with the baby rabbit.

As we both gained our composure, she went on to say that while she was fighting back her tears at the window, she remembered that our dad has often talked about the reality of nature and that death is a partner of life…whether we like that notion or not. At that point she rhetorically asked why she would let herself get upset by the situation.

I told her that it wasn’t necessarily about the rabbit. Our human emotions often lead us to empathize with misfortune…sometimes it happens while watching a movie or listening to a song…other times it’s a story of tragedy heard on the news…but that empathy is real regardless of who or what invokes it and who or what it is conferred upon. It is an acknowledgment of our human capacity for kindness and compassion…and our responsibility to use it for good in a world that is often predisposed to the infliction of heartache.

At the same time, a good heart is not a perfect heart…but in those times that it falls short…it is still inherently a good heart…and that is what ultimately makes all the difference. All too often we leap to judgments and we look for opportunities to impugn the worthiness of another’s heart…long before we’ve taken the time to look further than the moment and deeper than the instance.

This simple premise is often lost in the need to be righteous…which can lead us to abandon our authenticity in order to enhance our ego. When we subjugate goodness to the practice of judgment in an attempt to elevate our own measures over that of others, we negate the potential of our collective authenticity and we set in motion a hierarchical apportionment of our shared humanity.

When we embrace this dangerous dynamic, we turn a blind eye to the rabbits in need amongst us and we begin to succumb to our more distant predatory instincts…all the while moving further away from the unique promise of our human identity and its abundant capacity for goodness. Whether one believes in a higher being or not, it seems to me that we would be wise to understand that our heavenly existence will only be achieved when the lion lies down with the lamb.

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Daniel DiRito | June 4, 2007 | 6:07 PM
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