Monday, April 18, 2011

Rabbits and Jesus Love


Did I tell you about the time when Jesus cheered Cami up with a rabbit?

We’d been to Target, agreeing that we could look at the toy section, but not buy anything.

Cami then proceeded to lie in the floor, writhing and crying because Mean Mommy stuck to the agreement of no toy purchases. She pleaded with me all the way to the check-out stand, “Please, Mommy, PLEASE! I just have to have it!” (I don’t even remember what the item was, but I’m pretty sure that by then, everyone wanted me to buy the thing.)

By the time we checked out and reached the door, she was really mad. Both my arms are filled with bags of necessities that are cheaper at Target than the grocery store. I had kept my cool so far, and we were almost in the parking lot. “Walk right beside me, Cami.” And I walked out the automatic door.

It got really quiet in that parking lot. I turned to eyeball Cami, and she wasn’t there. I look back inside the store, and she’s sitting on the floor by the shopping carts, arms folded across her chest, sitting criss-cross-applesauce.

That’s when I got mad.

I went back in the Out door, arms still filled with bags of stuff, and started hissing at her. “You will come with me to the van right now. NOW, Cami!”

“I’m never leaving here until we can buy that (whatever the toy was).” That poochy-out mouth face that she makes when she’s harumphing. It’s funny looking, actually, but she usually only makes it when we’re both about three steps beyond mad.

This day, the Mean Mommy stopped her hissing, rearranged the bags in her arms so she could grab said child and dragged her along out the door. By the time we made it to the van, I was in tears.

I tried really hard to not say ANYTHING on the way home because EVERYTHING I wanted to say would just escalate everything further. So I started praying out loud. I asked Jesus to help me control my words. I asked the Holy Spirit to help Cami calm down and hear truth in her heart. (Mommy really does love her even though she wouldn’t buy her that toy.) I prayed out loud until all the hysterics in the back seat—and in the driver’s seat—diffused.

By the time we had pulled into our cul-de-sac, Cami was very quiet and I was exhausted. We pulled into our reserved parking place, and the van headlights illuminated a rabbit in our front yard.

We have a hedge of boxwoods along one side of our yard, and one October blustery day we’d watched a rabbit shelter there for the whole afternoon. We see rabbits in our neighborhood quite often. Just not in December. And not usually on severe tantrum days.

We sat in the van together for at least 15 minutes with the engine running so the headlights wouldn’t go off. Then we sneakily turned off the engine, and Cami very quietly got out of the van and tried to creep up close to the rabbit. She got a mere three feet away before the rabbit’s white tail came up like he was going to bound away.

Cami started walking slowly back toward the sidewalk, crooning, “It’s okay, little Rabbit. We won’t hurt you. You can stay in our yard. We’ll go inside so you can feel safe.”

When we got inside, Cami said, “Mommy, I’ve never gotten that close to a rabbit before! I bet no one in our neighborhood has ever gotten that close to a wild rabbit!” Her face was glowing.

“Cami,” I said, “you do realize who sent that rabbit to our yard, right?”

She cocked her head sideways. “Who?”

“Didn’t your heart need cheering up? And doesn’t Jesus know how much you love animals?”

“Yes. . .”

“And didn’t we ask God to help us calm down and feel better?”

A pause, then, “Jesus sent that rabbit just for me!”

“I think so, Cami.”

“Mommy, it’s just another case of GOD IN ACTION!” And she squishy-hugged me.

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