The Rabbit and the Orange
Most Sundays, I post a vignette of the life of Jesus and consider how it relates to our lives. I don’t preach. My goal is to understand both what the writer writes, and what the hearer hears. I leave the what it really means to others, smarter than me, and bolder. It’s impossible to write and think about this without bias, and I address it when I see it. I’m comfortable with Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant theologies, and with some atheist ideals. It was Augustine who said that ‘all truth is G’s truth,’ and I gladly sup coffee around that campfire.
The rabbit makes me do it. Really. A real rabbit.
Her name is Hopalina, and she lives in our screened-in-porch. Every time I walk out there – every time – she rushes at me, wanting a banana, some hay, or a few strokes between her ears. Who knows: the rabbit mind is an enigma.
West Coast Denn is usually pretty chill, but I’m afraid I’ll step on her or trip over her. So I do what any red-blooded American does and swear at her to hurt her feelings enough so she’ll never dart in front of me again. Sometimes, if my hands are full, I invent swear words and threaten to leave the back door open so she can escape and make a fat, tasty meal for a soaring hawk. She doesn’t care a wit and scampers underfoot for more. I feel bad that such rottenness spews from me, but I’m just a human, and she’s just a rabbit. Not too far apart, really.
The whole episode makes me think of my spiritual nemesis Wayne Dyer and one of his favorite teachings.
He starts with an easy question, holding up an orange for the audience to see.
“What happens if I squeeze this orange? If I squeeze it really hard, like this?” He does a not very convincing Hanz and Franz imitation. “What will come out?”
The audience hesitates, thinking it’s too simple, that there must be a trick.
“C’mon,” he says, laughing. “What will come out?”
A brave woman takes a stab. “Orange juice?”
“Orange juice.” He looks mystified. “Orange juice comes out, right? What could be more obvious? Orange juice.”
He keeps going with the same childlike wondering. “Why?” He shrugs his shoulders. “Why orange juice?”
The audience is stumped again, so he answers for them.
“Because that’s what’s inside.”
People bang their fists on their foreheads. “That’s what’s inside,” they mouth to their husbands and wives. Dyer looks around the room like he’s hoping for something more.
The Rabbit and the Orange
“So, here’s a question:” The audience doesn’t know it, but he’s about to lower the boom. “What comes out of you when you’re squeezed?”
It’s the question that plagues me every time Hopalina scatters under my feet. It’s the question I should ask when I snap at my wife for having the gall to suggest I put sunscreen on before I mow the lawn. It’s the question you should ask yourself when you revel in learning that Sheila didn’t starve herself last summer, but sneaked off to have twenty pounds of fat sucked out.
It is, in fact, a question that should never be far from your thoughts. It might, for once, reveal to you your propensity to selfishness and greed and sin.
Oh, and lest I finish before explaining it, you are just like an orange. What comes out of you when you’re squeezed, comes out…because… that’s what’s inside of you.
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