“I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what God has done.
God has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of the righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to God”.
From the bottom of every dark hole I tumbled down during The Fateful Eight, the first fissure of light from above, no matter how far I’d descended, no matter how far above that dim tip of light was, it came from a bunny.
Actually, 18 bunnies.
A list of 18 bunnies.
I love bunnies. I’ve loved them since I was a little Pearl of a girl, enchanted with all things bunny. The way their tiny, soft, weightlessness felt in the palm of my hand. The ridiculous endearing floppy ears, pristine cotton-ball tails, their black button eyes, twitchy noses and whiskers, their velvet fur. How they move; a lightning fast hybrid of a scamper and a hop, their ability to skid to a stop on a dime. I felt a deep and unmitigated kinship to their inherent goodness in the animal kingdom. Bunnies were nice. And kind and gentle. Vulnerable, too, skittish for sure. So much so, that bunnies were largely undomesticated, unlike the more popular cats and dogs. Some breeds were, however, and when I was ten and my sister was 8 my dad, (may he rest in peace) gave us a Holland Lop Rabbit to share. Which I, admittedly, did not. I considered the little bunny mine and mine alone and immediately named him Thorndike (after the widely used 20th century school dictionary which was at the top of my aged 10 “Must Read” List.) I raised him as mine and cared for Thorndike from an impossibly tiny ball off fluff that would hop around our orange shag carpet to my endless delight (and my mother’s equal endless horror/disgust. To this day I can hear her, in her thick Midwestern accent, pleading with my sister and I. “Please, girls, put him back in his house. Before he makes on the carpet.”) to a sizable, overfed, black and white wiry furred rabbit who was banned to the garage due to an odorous cage. The end of my first, and only, rabbit pet ends with a crushing “RIP Thorndike-1973-1975” and too, too many tears, but not my enduring love of all things le lapin. When I was a young mother, I read stories and sang songs to my children from their very births where bunnies had starring roles (“The Velveteen Rabbit”, “The Runaway Bunny”, “The Tale of Peter Cottontail and THE BEST bunny book of all bunny book time “Pat The Bunny”. For singing, there was the one, the only “Little Bunny Foo-Foo”.) I live in the Conejo (Spanish for , yay!, “rabbit”) so when we moved here when the kids were small, we christened our new environs “The Bunny” and refer to it that way still. The place is literally alive with the little creatures. On our family walks or bike rides, we’d have Bunny Alerts and count how many we saw, on hikes, back then and as I got well enough over the past few years, with The Dude, I would kneel down and observe them quietly doing their bunny thing. In the car, I always make the driver brake for bunnies.
During the running, always running, days of The Fateful Eight, I got tagged “The Runaway Bunny”. And the youngest of my girls, the child of my soul, the one most like me, got nicknamed The Bunny. Badass got tacked on later because, very unlike me, she is tough, wise and has some formidable street smarts. As well as some beautiful, creative and meaningful tattoos. And likes to drive very fast cars. As far ar the tattoos are concerned, I’d rather she have ink applied through her skin via a buzzing tattoo needle than, say, heroin shot through her veins per the syringe of a fellow junkie. I think my fellow comrades-in-motherly-arms can come to some sort of collective agreement on this, can’t we?
So, at the bottom, wanting up and out of one of those dark caverns, visualizing bunnies made me remember there was something up top I liked to look at, one of God’s little creatures that made me smile, every time, with gladness and gratitude.
Hence the word sandwich: Glad+Grateful=Glatitude.
Which lead to a “Glatitude 18 Bunny List” (18 is my Lucky Number). By the time I’d put together 18 things I was grateful for, I’d somehow moved up the shaft of light, illuminated and carried by them, thankful and feeling better.
I don’t know how these things spiritual things work, but they do.
Thank God. (Pun, reverently, intended.)
In my recovery, there were, and occasionally still are, a lot of stumbles and falls, and these Bunny Lists always, without fail, never fail. I still make them, once a week, whether I’m down looking up or up looking forward.
And in this life I have to make, I hope I always remember to never forget to.