I know the SuperHusband loves me, because he built BunnyLand. (As if the bookshelves hadn’t clinched it.)
#3, suitably nicknamed “The Bun” since before ever we met her, wanted bunnies. #1 has a dog, and #2 her cat, and #3 longed for bunnies. Sweet, soft, fuzzy little bunnies.
As an Easter surprise we worked out a timeshare arrangement with our bunny-owning friends: We could have guardianship of Bun-Bun and Jennie-Bun as long as we liked, and still be confident of bunny-sitting and bunny-sabbaticals as needed. The perfect solution, especially after we calculated that there was more venison in the freezer than we could eat in a year, so acquiring a breeding pair of bunnies was not strictly neccessary.
And though #3 does all the daily bunny-feeding and watering, we discovered the two most ardent bunny-lovers (I am loathe to admit this) are the two most curmudgeonly, un-cuddly residents of the castle — Mr. Boy and I.
The porch was fine for temporary lodgings, but for a longterm stay, the bunnies needed room to roam and a place to relieve themselves at will. After several false starts, we prevailed upon the SuperHusband to create BunnyLand, a sheltered, predator-resistant enclave under the apple tree. It’s big and leafy, and the bunnies have space to hop around in giant zig-zags, and hide under the virginia creeper, and loll in the dirt pile left from setting a post for the bunny-gate.
In the morning I can sit out in the garden with a cup of coffee and a missal, and watch bunnies until I remember to pray, and then watch more after. And usually in-between. Somewhere about the psalm I end up taking a bunny-watching break. Maybe not the best thing for my prayer life, I admit.
Last Friday evening we were sitting out in the garden watching the bunnies, and Mr. Boy hopped the fence. He desperately, desperately wants to pet the bunnies, and sometimes they let him. Other times, no. “You need to sit quietly and peacefully, and let the bunnies come to you,” I told him.
So he held up his hands, two fingers in the air: Peace signs.
I can’t remember the exact sequence, but this being the four of us, late in the evening . . . soon two children and I were making some comment about the sixty-something ladies at Mass who finish their handshakes during the Sign of Peace, and for good measure bless the remainder of the parish with peace-signed hands.
SuperHusband had failed to ever notice this practice, mark of the Business-Casual Parish. We filled him in on what he’d been missing in his devoted attention to the Agnus Dei*. And then chuckled.
But you know what? I know it’s popular among a certain kind of neo-Cath blogger to mock the aging hippies with their groovy worship habits, and I’m here to tell you this: Lay Off.
Have you ever spent a day with these ladies?
Do you not know that they held your parish together when all the rest of our culture was trying every possible social experiment in the name of
freedom unbridled license? Do you not know that they who wield the folk guitar and bless children shamelessly during Holy Communion, they are the ones feeding the poor at St. Vincent de Paul, and making meals for the funeral supper, while you sit at home reading imprimatured titles from Ignatius Press?
Do you not know how much they love your children? The hours they spend — the decades they have spent — teaching religious ed, with no more support than a love of Jesus and a desire to share that love with whomever He sends them?
Do you not understand that whatever their shortcomings, they have prayed into this Church — at the cost of night after night, year after year, of tears for a wayward generation they did not know how to teach, but tried their best anyway — you and I? Who now sit at our computers, bickering and griping over what this law means and how this rubric applies?
Lay off the old ladies. They belong to St. Therese. If you have no sense in you at all, at the very least you know not to mess with the Little Flower. You mind your manners, and she’ll get them straightened out.
By all means make good arguments for good art and good liturgy. But gently, if you can manage it. I stink at gentle. You have my sympathy. And too often, my company.
I can’t wait until the next time Allie Hathaway’s in town, and we can show her the bunnies. Please pray for her and all her family.
But I give you permission to make funny faces when the choir sings those heartfelt but, shall we say . . . not my favorite? . . . Okay nevermind. We’re not supposed to make funny faces at Mass. The Little Flower thanks you for just offering it up.
*Yes, I always end up in confession mentioning my inability to pay attention during Mass. I’m working on it.