IVP - Strangely Dim - Following the Way of the Rabbit

April 1, 2011

Following the Way of the Rabbit

uvic-rabbit.jpgIt is generally acknowledged that rabbits, being rather good eating, are not terribly good for conversation. They may seem skittish, running from what we think of as rather commonplace sounds (like cars driving past, or gunfire, or dogs running and barking at them), and they eat grass--which, as I am sure you will agree, is not very tasty, and, when chewed, tends to be a bit fibrous. Worse than celery, really.

But as with all good things, the wait is over for those who see rabbits as apt examples of what it truly means to live a fulfilled life--one of Christlike meekness, simplicity, contentment and awareness of the Way. Indeed, it is easier than you may think to walk this path, seeing the Way before you as one that, while not necessarily well-paved, is abundantly filled with the gracious provision of the One who leads us on it.

Ecila Lewoll's book begins with a story that may at first seem familiar to us, as we have all been on a path that has led to confusion and bewilderment, down dark rabbit trails, through knotted woods and deep into the abyss of false wonder. Any rabbit traveling alone through these desolate lands would understandably become fearful, desperate, and flee in the panic of being unprepared to face these trials. But Lewoll shows us the true way of the rabbit, describing the demeanor of one who, rather than being fearful and skittish, is confident in the face of danger and uncertainty, pure of heart in the midst of temptation, and focused on the leading of the Master who leads us through trails that our eyes may not yet be able to see.

Says Lewoll, "Rabbits are commonly seen as fearful, but a healthy sense of self-preservation never really did anyone any harm. And, if you ever really watch a rabbit, you will observe what careful attention they pay to their surroundings, no matter what task is in front of them. Usually, they are harvesting the abundant provision of foliage they encounter daily. But always are their eyes scanning the area for predators who may take advantage of an unsuspecting rabbit. Granted, not all rabbits are as careful as others (a lesson which we would do well to learn), but those who are attentive to the world around them will learn better what it is to be attentive to the One who gave them the ears to hear sounds of danger, and sounds of comfort.  . . . What's truly difficult for many people to comprehend is the unending satisfaction Rabbitkind derives from a mundane diet of fibrous greenery, generally plucked straight from the earth and chewed endlessly until, at last, it is of a consistency worthy of swallowing. It is this contentment that I seek--that my weak rabbit eyes may not be limited to the obvious, but that my perspective may be changed so that I see the grass for what it is--the gracious provision of a wonderful creator who loves me and has set it in great supply over such an expanse of the earth that I shall never be in want. The endless chewing is a tender reminder of the patience we are asked to have in all things, even as we traverse the path ahead of us. What people have previously, and derisively, labeled "rabbit trails" are really the faithful meanderings of creatures who, while seemingly unaware of their ultimate destination, are unfalteringly aware that it exists, and that they will arrive there safely."

On purity, Ecila says, "Of course, the color most associated with purity is white--being white as snow, and so forth. This is difficult with rabbits because they come in such an array of wondrously diverse colors. The rabbit embodiment of cleanliness is clearly an invitation to purify oneself even as we are invited to travel the Way of Truth. As it has been said, "follow the White Rabbit." What this means is that those who choose to follow the Way, who desire to be purified, will take it upon themselves to diligently cleanse every part of their spiritual life--even as a rabbit methodically cleans its fur. Of particular importance is the cleaning of the spiritual ears--as these are the primary way with which we receive and comprehend the direction of the One who takes us safely along trails ahead of us."

Lewoll's controversial and trailblazing new spiritual guide is nicely completed with spiritual exercises that will help us see how following the Way of the Rabbit can be easily incorporated into our daily life. Perfect for Easter, this book carefully debunks notions of rabbits as mere purveyors of seasonally decorated eggs (which, as we are all aware, come from poultry, not rabbits). When you have completed this book, you will come to a new understanding of the Rabbit as a creature of serious devotion to the search for the Truth that comes only in attentiveness to the Way.

Posted by Christa Countryman at April 1, 2011 10:50 AM Bookmark and Share | TrackBack

Comments are closed for this entry.

Get Email Updates

You'll get an email whenever a new entry is posted to Strangely Dim

Behind the Strangeness

Lisa Rieck is a reader and writer who likes to discuss good ideas over hot drinks and gets inspired by the sky. She takes in all kinds of good ideas as a proofreader for InterVarsity Press.

Rebecca Larson is a writer/designer/creative type who has infiltrated IVP's web department, where she writes and edits online content. She enjoys a good pun and loves the smell of freshly printed books.

David A. Zimmerman is an editor for Likewise Books and a columnist for Burnside Writers Collective. He's written three books, most recently The Parable of the Unexpected Guest. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/unexpguest. Find his personal blog at loud-time.com.

Suanne Camfield is a publicist for InterVarsity Press and a freelance writer. She floats ungracefully between work, parenting and writing, and (much to her dismay) finds it impossible to read on a treadmill. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and blogs at The Rough Cut.

Likewise Books from InterVarsity Press explore a thoughtful, active faith lived out in real time in the midst of an emerging culture.

Subscribe to Feeds