Of Easter Rabbits and Personal Tribunals

>>  Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This photo was taken almost 4 decades ago and represents for me, a year of firsts.  I had my first full time job. First car. First apartment. First serious relationship. And my first callous treatment to another living being.

I am pictured holding Metuse my first (and only) rabbit "pet". He was given to me by my partner at the time on Easter morning. I was in love the first moment I laid eyes on him! He wasn't young... But I never asked where he came from. Never thought of what home or circumstances he might be missing... All I knew was that he was mine to adore from then on!

We took Metuse everywhere we could reasonably allow for his freedom. He especially loved camping adventures where he'd be on grass for days at a time.  And at home he was a perfect room mate. He had the run of the house at all times. I never found any object chewed or clawed on. And he always used his little box for his rabbit "deposits". 

He must have loved me too - Each time I came home from work or errands he'd be at the door to greet me. He followed me from room to room and stayed at my feet when I settled down. He adored being petted and would fall asleep in the hollow of my lap. Everything was safe in our world...

But as youth often does - It has changes and is filled with disruptions... My 2 year relationship was ending and I made hasty arrangements to move into my second apartment - Leaving my sweet Metuse behind. So worried with my own life I didn't look back to claim him till weeks passed and by then he had been "given away". To this day I kick myself for letting my poor little love face yet another unknown. How helpless it must be to be moved about without even knowing where or why or... Well, I don't pretend to know what a nonhuman must think when they are shuffled or shoved into the unfamiliar. Or how they grieve when they miss their friends... But it can't be good. :(

I wish I could say that the fate I left my dear Metuse in was the last of my thoughtlessness regarding the nonhumans in my care - But to my shame it's not.  As time allows and as I have the courage to tell - There's more...

For now I just wanted this to be an open apology to one of the most precious beings there ever was. I'm sorry Metuse that once I was so young and dumb and insensitive to your needs. In hindsight I should have left everything else behind and taken only you. To You my sweet friend: Stretching way back to our distant lives - to the comforts of home, secure surroundings and soft caresses - Please forgive me for having denied you these. You are always in my heart. 

To those reading who might be moved by my story - Adopt your sweet rabbit and give him/her the best forever home you can. Remember their little world is totally dependent on you - Make it a considerate and generous one.

Happy Easter to all the great bunnies and bunny lovers in the world! 


veganelder March 27, 2013 at 7:15 PM  

Oh Bea...ouch ouch ouch...sad. Make no mistake...he did love you. I wish I didn't have horrors in my past but I do toi...and I will ache about them until I die.

Thank you for sharing.

proud womon March 28, 2013 at 3:52 AM  

honesty beautifully written... you struck a chord bea... and yes, i too have sadness and guilt at betrayal of nonhuman family and friends from my past...

Anonymous March 28, 2013 at 6:38 AM  

Those that come into our lives to teach us ... may their teachings for each and every one of us humans on this earth not be in vain. Metuse's certainly were not. Thank you for sharing a part of your life that reminds many (most?/ all?) of us of similar parts of ours.

Anonymous March 28, 2013 at 8:44 AM  

To the chorus of comments I add a heartfelt: "Me, too, Bea. I've had many Metuse (met-use) moments, where I 'met' then 'used' an animal like a pointless object instead of a priceless friend."

I'm in awe of the timing of your blog in my inbox. Just seconds ago I finished reading an article by a woman who was about your age (in the photo of you with Metuse) when she learned that her grandfather had passed away. She was devastated only because she loved him, but because she felt she had failed him. They had had a very close relationship in her growing-up years -- he had served her breakfast every morning before putting her on the school bus, because both of her parents worked -- but in recent years she had not written or called him with the frequency she felt their closeness warranted.

What she learned at his memorial service changed her sorrow to gratitude, even joy. She writes: "Just as Jesus proved to his students that he couldn't be found in a tomb, my grandfather couldn't be found there either. A burial place could never contain the spiritual essence of his true identity as God's child. And as God was always present, all the God-given qualities I loved in Grandfather were eternal and always present. The more keenly I was aware of the presence of God as infinite Love and Life, the more I saw that this divine presence conveyed an eternal, unbroken relationship with my grandfather and every one else I loved." (Perhaps including a bunny like Metuse.)

The artist in you, Bea, will appreciate the author's reference to a Eugene Burnand painting at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris (which I found here: www.artbible.info/art/large/49.html)

Bea, your bunny never stopped loving you and thus never felt the need to forgive. He has only sent bunny blessings your way. I suspect Metuse would love for you on this Easter day some 40 years later to finally and fully forgive yourself. As far as he is concerned, you are now being the Bea he always knew you were.

Bea Elliott March 29, 2013 at 6:07 AM  

Hi Olivia - So glad your friend found comfort in the belief of an eternal connection with someone who physically left her. I'm also happy that she and others find ways to excuse some of their own neglectful habits and deeds...

Let us hope that new mindful ways replace the old harmful ones.
It's very sweet what you say about Metuse's constant love. ~Thank you~

Bea Elliott March 29, 2013 at 6:15 AM  

Hello Harry - That is always the hope isn't it? That others may take a small bit of relief or new knowledge from telling our own life experiences. I've had many instances of finding refuge in reading your reflections as well.

Seems like with life and story telling - Often the edits are as useful as the final version. (?)

Stay well my friend - And thank you.

Bea Elliott March 29, 2013 at 6:20 AM  

Hi proud womon - Gee... My intent wasn't to make anyone feel bad about things they've done in the past - But rather to get people (maybe) to avoid them in the future. And yes... To ease my own inner voice as well.

I'm learning all the time of the hidden world of tricks and pitfalls that make us blind to the harms we do... None of us is spared from sad lessons. I think the worst tragedy would be to never see them. Glad you escaped that part too!

I'm grateful for your friendship. <3

Bea Elliott March 29, 2013 at 6:42 AM  

Hello veganelder - Yeah... My tale sure does classify as one of those backward glances that makes one wonder "What the heck was I thinking?". I don't know of anyone who hasn't thoughtlessly done some harm to someone else. But the world is filled with those who will never acknowledge that they have. Sad for them because they miss a big opportunity to heal themselves and to pass on wisdom.

Yeah... You're right - Metuse loved me and that's the stuff I want to hold on to. Thanks for giving a shoulder for the rest of it to go to.

Ingrid May 25, 2013 at 1:47 PM  

Bea, I relate very much to your comments and the associated feelings. I can't imagine the course of personal evolution without an original framework from which to evolve. I wonder if even the most enlightened family structure can ensure a child passes through life without causing pain in others. As a younger, much less mature person, with hopeless life and coping skills, I let down a few animals and also a few humans I loved deeply -- and over whom I also experience profound and significant regret to this day. I have used that regret through the years to remind myself not to make the same mistakes when the hardships of life threaten to overtake. But there's no getting around the fact that it doesn't change the past, heal the wounds I created, nor does it even assuage my angst about those actions. That sorrow is, indeed, a powerful reminder of the chasm between who we were and who we are. Because of that, it's also a connection to the raw material and the early formations of "us" without which our current versions wouldn't exist. We are obviously an amalgamation of that experience and it would be impossible to know which pieces we could keep or remove and still retain the same identity we've achieved through all of that travail. I can't help but think that your life, your example of compassion, your writing, and the sophistication of spirit bred by your early experiences are the most powerful testament of love you could express to Metuse, absent our ability to go back in time. You've certainly changed and affected my life for the better with your words and, in turn (I hope), others by extension.

Bea Elliott May 30, 2013 at 4:12 PM  

Hi Ingrid - I'm sorry that you too have caused yourself disappointment. Looking back it's always so easy to say "I should have known/done better"... But at the time our lack of full awareness is our sad demise. You're right that we should make those experiences learning points. By-golly I can attest to learning more from err than not. :/

Thank you so much for your generous and kind words too... It seems that for all the twists and turns we both went through it all bent the right way towards justice for others in the end. You are an inspiration to me as well - Always. Thank you.