In the middle of the night, our rabbit, Acorn, who lives in the backyard, was mauled by a raccoon or two. We knew they’d been coming in sometimes. But normally they ate cat food, washed their hands in the cat water, and left. (Raccoons have hands more than paws in my estimation).
But last night there was no cat food available. The bunny was available.
We are all grieving and distracted. For about a half an hour, Marshall threatened us with death if we didn’t resurrect the bunny. He said, “I know God can do it if you pray!”
It was a twisted affirmation of both his faith and ours. But he didn’t know how the bunny died because I didn’t tell him. It was a judgment call; one of those mercy lies, I guess.
I am feeling overwhelmed because it is 2:17, in the heat of the afternoon, and forest fires are burning in Willimina, not far from here. The sky here is blocked from color and the usual brilliant summer light. I want to keep my kids in due to the pollution, but can’t. Sam is outside now with Joel.
I guess I am sensing that the animals are suffering there, too. I am (again) thinking through this thing called the Food Chain, theologically. When Marshall was 5, I bought him a gold painted lion and lamb ornament to remind him of the Not Yet. That things will be different some day. He’d cried for fifteen minutes when Joel told him that birds eat bugs. He loves bugs and birds both.
Now, at 9 and a half, he stuffs his tears away in threats and anger. It’s not right, the way things are.
Julian of Norwich’s famous prayer “All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well” is preceded by “Sin is necessary, but…”
And I’ve heard the Best of all Possible Worlds talk. Is this it? Could Mother God really do no better? No better way to control animal populations?
The adage “There is a reason for everything” seems hollow in the face of natural forces that destroy.
“There is a season for everything” might be more appropriate: pain and suffering occur, but they are not the final word. They are temporary.
And maybe my distress is partly due to the people-izing of animals. They aren’t people. A rabbit expects to be prey, on some level.
But people are predators, too, like those raccoons. Occasionally the Humane Farming Association sends me their magazines. Thankfully they don’t traumatize me with pictures of suffering. But I get the idea. Animals we eat live horrific lives before we eat them. I feel rather removed from it all, having gone to Fred Meyer’s to take out a pink slab wrapped in plastic and drop it in some boiling water. Organic yes, but the organically fed animals don’t fare better.
All I know is, whatever may have been the best Mother God could do, there’s better days ahead. And we get to help Her make them happen. We get to help Mother God make a new world for the lion and the lamb and the cow. And the bunny, too.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
Isaiah 11:9, NRSV
What bugs you about the food chain, or do you just not think about it? How would you have done it better if you were Mother God?
Do you get angrier at God when you call Her Mother, or less? Is God the Father more trustworthy when it comes to figuring out the mysterious ways of the Creator?
What part do we play in creating a new world for animals?