Joy has been an elusive emotion in my life this past year. I long to feel it, but it remains dormant.
Months have passed since my youngest son, Tony, died unexpectedly. Shocked. Angry. Depressed. Accusatory. All strong emotions, and each one capable of destroying any semblance of happiness. The empty hole in our family unit has been, and continues to be, painful to accept, or come to terms with. The dreary days of winter fail to lift the spirits too.
One morning, feeling particularly ‘blah’ I asked God to bring joy back into my life. I still have a beautiful family and many friends, and yet feel overwhelmed by the loss of my boy.
Those who know me are aware of my love of gardening. It is a source of much pleasure and relaxation to me, and anything that disturbs that is considered a nuisance, especially if my plants become a smorgasbord to critters.
Last year, as I do every year, I planted a row of pole beans. We are always blessed with a good harvest, so I anticipated the same result. We pop the beans into the ground and protect the seedlings with a wire fence, as well as strips of board to block access from the other side of the fence. That usually works very well. As the days passed I was disappointed that my beans were not doing as well as anticipated. I couldn’t understand why; there were no bugs to be seen, yet the seedlings were struggling to grow into strong plants. Then one by one, they began to disappear. What on earth?!!!! To say that I was upset was an understatement.
Then one day, looking out of my kitchen window, I spotted the culprits. Baby rabbits!
Despite all the protection we had in place, the little rascals had found a gap just big enough to squeeze through, and they could then proceed under the fence to munch on MY BEANS…….this was a battle I could not win.
My anger quickly dissipated as our tiny plant munchers took over the garden. Five cute, tiny rabbits. How could I not be enchanted?
Fast forward, and we have just two rabbits remaining. One seems very comfortable with having us adults around. Our neighbor even leaves treats for it. One day she complained that Dennis (the name she has given ‘our’ rabbit) was no longer interested in her treats. He comes and sits on our side step, completely ignoring her. I thought it funny as my neighbor is not one to be easily upset by much, but the fact that a rabbit was ignoring her was upsetting her.
Curious, I started to watch through our side window, and sure enough one day I saw Dennis, sitting on our step, even looking towards our door. How odd. He seemed perfectly at home. This became a daily ritual, so much so, that I began to leave a tiny carrot or two on the step. As long as I stayed indoors, watching out the window, Dennis stayed on the step. If I opened the door he took off.
Now I can be seen putting a tiny treat on the step first thing in the morning, and late afternoon. That’s when my ‘new friend’ comes to visit.
I’ve decided to call him/her Benjamin. It seems to be a more appropriate name for a bunny. Time will tell if it’s a he or a she.
Recently, as I sat looking out into the garden, having put out the carrot treat, I realized that this little creature was bringing me joy. I was feeling joy each time I saw it, and each time I found the carrots eaten. Seeing it sitting, waiting or eating I felt the lightness of joy.
So, from rabbits being a scourge in my garden, God chose a rabbit to bring me joy. Who says that God doesn’t have a sense of humour.