The Bunny’s Always Tastier on the Other Side of the Electric Fence

A “Chews”-Your-Own-Adventure

6/9/20244 min read

I have a shepherd-husky mix named Nola, and Nola has the run of two acres of country yard surrounded by a corn field. She would have the run of the whole world, for sure, if it weren’t for the invisible fence and her red collar, which keep her here with the people who love her.

Lately, Nola’s life has been complicated by a wild bunny who lives just beyond the edge of her electric fence. It’s fascinating to watch the dynamic between predator (Nola), kept in check by her fear of a zap, and prey (Bunny), who has an uncanny ability to judge the exact range of the fence.

Nola consoles herself with our third character, Stuffed Bunny. This toy is now squeaker-less, stuffing-less and, as you can see from the early photo below, more than a little wild-eyed. Nola is not fooled by Stuffed Bunny, and her focus returns always to the critter just out of reach. Hours pass, Nola twitching in angst, the real bunny hopping about gleefully on parade.

Nola stares. The bunny stares back. I stare at them both.

I sip my coffee, analyzing the truths of life reflected in this show-down. I can’t decide which to share, so I’ll let you decide. I invite you to join me in contemplating the metaphor closest to your current situation …

If you’re in a waiting season:

Nola must wait for the bunny to cross the boundary of the invisible fence, and she is quite determined to wait. However, she isn’t just sitting there, hoping. She is preparing (i.e., practicing on Stuffed Bunny). This way, when the glorious day comes and the bunny lets down his guard, Nola will be ready to … make the most of it? Yuck. Forgive me.

But it still leads me to ask myself, am I busy as I wait? Am I doing everything I can to be an expert when the door of opportunity opens, so I can run through with confidence?

If you’re reluctant to go after what you really want:

Stuffed Bunny could also represent what we settle for while the real bunny, or what we really want, seems out of reach. It’s a poor substitute. In Nola’s case, she has to fling the toy through the air in order to chase it because it does not hop. It also makes a lame, wheezy sound rather than a squeak (probably why I got it on clearance).

I contemplate what I’ve accidentally settled for, which parts of my life look like the world when I could have an abundant life, instead. When I could claim the promise of real peace, do I settle for numbing my mind, instead? I think I prefer the real bunny, but sometimes I go with a substitute. I might need to remember to let the stuffed bunny go and focus on the real thing.

If you feel you need to be more in-the-moment:

The level of distraction involving this bunny has become out of hand for Nola. She stares at it so intently, simply on the merit of it being out of reach, that she is missing some other fascinating things happening in her yard. Other chase-able critters frolic about in the bushes and wood pile, beneath the weeping willow and the deck. I mean, we’ve got low-flying birdies here! Squeaky balls and people (me) willing to throw those squeaky balls.

But, no. Nola is distracted by what she cannot claim just now. I am left wondering if what has my attention and focus is preventing me from noticing the other opportunities and wonders around me. I guess whatever I’m obsessing about better be worth missing the other stuff, right?

If you think you’ve got a handle on it all:

The bunny is playing with fire, to blatantly mix metaphors. He appears to be enjoying traipsing back and forth just outside the dog’s reach.

How many times do we mess with bad stuff, dabbling in things we shouldn’t because we convince ourselves we’re safe? Even when the bunny sees Stuffed Bunny’s innards scattered across the lawn, he thinks he can keep it under control, just like I convince myself I’m fine. Just … a … little … closer. To disaster.

If you’re feeling rebellious or tempted:

Closely connected to the above, we’ve got to consider the Fence itself.

Believers could make the invisible fence represent a restriction placed by God for our own good. Can we cross it? Yes, but the consequences may be painful, and God doesn’t want to lose us or have something awful happen to us any more than I want Nola to get hit by a car.

Going after the bunny, in this scenario, involves crossing the Fence, and crossing the Fence comes at a price.

In a community sense, the Fence could be the limitations of society. Also painful to push through? But what’s the bunny in this metaphor, and what if we do get hit by a car?! My coffee is starting to get cold.

Final thoughts:

Whatever place you’re coming to the bunny from today, I hope you’re able to look that situation in the face and call it what it is. For my own part, I sat down to share a picture of my dog with you, but now I’ve got SO much more to consider.