On the Inside Looking Out

With the living room picture window now her quarantine portal, she marveled at creation as she observed her narrowed world. Time had stopped just long enough to help her pay attention. Processing the world's increasingly bad news was easier when gazing at God's artistic wonders. Bird songs caused her to freeze and hold her breath so she could count the syllables of each bird's call. What might they be saying? Who are they warning? Are they simply practicing their morning reveille? Masked faces hurried down the street walking their dogs. With brisk strides, they glanced about nervously as if they might be caught violating lock down requirements. The doggies didn't care, though. Their noses to the ground zig-zagged them forward toward inviting scents. But her greatest delight came from observing bunny antics in her front and back yards. Hops, dances, and chases. Ears pricking up, then flattening down to camouflage. Grazing here, scurrying there. Flopping in the dirt, then disappearing somehow. “Quick like a bunny” took on a new meaning. With dawn and dusk being their active times, she stood at the window each morning and again just after dinner. This glorious routine kept her from worrying about the growing statistics of death and dying. One day a bunny ran up the front yard downspout and then back out, scurrying to its safe place under the neighbor's large spruce tree. She named it Somebunny so she could announce, “Somebunny just ran up the downspout!” “Somebunny's in the front yard again.” “Somebunny's flopped near the flower bed.” Another day she discovered a baby bunny had made its home under their lawn mower. She named it Toro and warned him the mower was not a good place for a den. Later that Spring, three baby bunnies hopped out from under the back yard fence to graze just inches away from their warren. Quarantine's kind of entertaining, she regularly thought. Nature is so amusing. God certainly outdid himself when he created songbirds and bunnies. Then one morning, she saw the neighborhood cat trotting up the street with a baby bunny in its mouth. “No!” she cried and ran outside. But she couldn't get the cat to stop, and life was gone. Sorrow plummeted down to the depths of her soul. She cried out to God, “How can nature be so cruel?” “What were you thinking to allow such horrors?” Surprised by her lack of restraint, she stopped to listen for God's answer. The familiar still, small voice told her how He, too, cries over each lost creature. It was always His intent that the wolf lie down with the lamb, no need for killing. So, she read Creation's story. How the Genesis of life was marred by the genesis of sin. How the world fell by choice and humanity now wrestles in darkness and death. Then an image came into her mind: of Jesus' nail-scarred hands taking hold of the bunny caught in the cat's deathly grip, cradling it close to His breast and receiving it to the realm where the Genesis of life flourishes. From that day, she prayed over the bunnies. She stood watch for cats prowling along fences or crouching near porch decks. She became guard, caretaker, protector and defender, a first responder of sorts. Winter came, and the bunnies went into hiding. Snow covered the ground, but whenever it would melt away, she'd look outside the window just in case. Once or twice, she'd spy Somebunny under the neighbor's large spruce tree and she would smile, knowing he was still alive. But most of the time, she busied herself with other tasks. She paid closer attention to the news and realized the gravity of rising infection rates and death tolls especially in countries that still couldn't administer the vaccine. And she prayed. She prayed for the afflicted and the vulnerable. She prayed for the caretakers, protectors and defenders—those first responders far more critical than she. The world had morphed into an unfamiliar place. Now, fear and hopelessness cried out, kicking and screaming. Trust was absent and accusation ran rampant. Like cats killing baby bunnies, the frailty of humankind hit with brutality. Spring arrived again, and with it came new baby bunnies. Frolicking, grazing, and running for cover. She smiled and thought back to one year ago when she stood at the living room picture window observing the joy of creation. The innocence of beauty prevents us from seeing reality, she bemused. We are marred, she sighed in sorrow. Looking from the inside out once more, she gazed upward. And she saw the same hands that received the lifeless bunny now cradling the scarred world. "I'm coming soon," Jesus whispered. "I'm coming for the innocent, the pure, the poor and the persecuted. With healing in my wings and a scepter of righteousness in my right hand, I promise that evil will no longer invade creation's goodness."

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