Above: Our bunny named Hop Hop.
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.James 3:2
The fate of our bunny, Hop Hop, all started when we gave away our old minivan. Related: We Bought A Bunny I had mentioned before that I wanted to blow up the minivan or launch it off a cliff like my brother did with his limousine (watch that here) but when we had a newer minivan given to us, I was under the conviction that I should pass on the blessing to someone else by giving away our old minivan. Of course, the blessing I was passing on to someone else was rusty, squeaky, dented, high mileage and had Band-Aids painted all over it. In fact, some would say it resembled a curse more than a blessing. Still, if I found someone who had to choose between walking everywhere or driving our van, I’m pretty sure they would be happy for the van.
Through a contact at our church we heard of a single mother who needed a vehicle to get to a job interview. Let’s call her Gertrude. I don’t know the whole story but I realized this was my chance to give away the van that was sitting in my yard killing grass.
When Gertrude came to look at it, I explained the various quirks of the van’s personality. The biggest problem was that the brakes on the van were making grinding noises. I don’t know if you’re mechanically inclined, but grinding noises generally indicate something is wrong (unless you’re operating a grinder, of course). I didn’t want my generosity to kill somebody so I offered to buy and install a set of brake pads and rotors for her. I would have to buy parts so the only thing she had to do was bring the van back to our house some Saturday so I could install everything. Then I could wash my hands of the van, knowing that the vehicle I gave her performed the two essential jobs of any vehicle: starting and stopping. Indeed Gertrude, along with her three kids, decided that our van was a lot better than walking and so the title was signed over and off she went.
I didn’t offer any warranty, expressed or implied but I know that my mother-in-law Clara prayed for our van quite often. Clara asked God often to not let our van break down and it never did. I did replace parts but it always gave us fair warning of impending doom and never left us sit beside the road. I wasn’t sure if those prayers would transfer though. Is God’s warranty transferable or would this van suddenly disintegrate into a pile of dust and debris the moment we signed the title over?
Two weeks later I had the parts and arranged a time for Gertrude to come and get the van serviced. She pulled into the driveway and it became evident to me that maybe the prayers weren’t transferring to the new owner. She hopped out along with her kids, a gentleman caller, and two dogs. I said “Hi,” pulled out the jack, wrenches, anti-seize, penetrating oil, and a rag and got to work. I don’t like small talk.
Her kids soon got bored and so I suggested that they go hang out in our backyard. We have a swing and a little slide and some balls floating around there so maybe they could entertain themselves. The bunny was also back there but it was in a cage and I didn’t think anything of it.
Work was going well. I had changed brake pads and rotors on this van many times before and so it was all very familiar. Janice came out and told me that she was taking the kids on a walk to the neighbors so they could return a few items we had borrowed. I nodded and kept working. I just switched to the other wheel when I heard dogs barking, kids screaming, and another unidentified squeal I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Suddenly it hit me. “That’s a bunny!” I dropped everything and ran over to the yard where I found Hop Hop being shaken like a chew toy by one of their dogs. The kids were trying to get the dog to let go but weren’t putting together a convincing argument. I tried a different method. I repeatedly punched the dog between the eyes until he dropped the bunny. I did feel a slightly bad for punching the kid’s dog right in front of them but I also felt bad for my kid’s beloved pet. I carried Hop Hop into the house where I wandered around aimlessly in urgent inaction. I think Patrick McManus calls it a “Modified Stationary Panic.” How do I patch a bunny? I couldn’t find any cuts or broken bones. Of course, what do I know about bunny anatomy? I wasn’t about to drive to a vet and drop a thousand dollars fixing a fifty dollar bunny. I eventually just wrapped him a towel and laid him in the corner to just wait and see what happened. Maybe he’d pull through. I whipped out my phone and texted Janice. My fingers were still shaking a little.
Hey I think their (redacted) dogs killed hop hop. Maybe keep the kids away until I figure out what to do. I’ll try to finish up here and get rid of these people as soon as possible!
There was nothing else I could do so I began working on the van again so I could fulfill my promise to Janice to get rid of these people as soon as possible. I was mad.
Soon Janice came home and found me inside looking for rags.
“What’s going on?” Janice asked. “Gertrude said you’re mad and that I probably shouldn’t come into my house. What on earth is going on?”
“What? You didn’t get my text?” I thought the text was pretty self explanatory.
“Gertrude said you texted her. Did you mean to text me?”
Suddenly my heart sank as I realized what happened. I had texted Gertrude instead of Janice! I had just told a homeless single mother that I wanted to get rid of her as soon as possible, probably reaffirming her own belief of how little she was worth. Oh man. I even used a swear word. It wasn’t an R rated swear word, maybe just a PG-13 one but still I could see my charade of being a perfect caring Christian evaporating before my eyes. So much for all this effort.
I finished up the brake job and contemplated life. I let my tongue slip and ruined everything. Ugh. I went and apologized to Gertrude and felt three inches tall. I patted the dog on the head and apologized for hitting him in the face. It was a friendly dog. It’s just that bunnies are prey and dogs are predators. That’s what happens. The dog didn’t indicate whether or not it accepted my apology but the apology was meant more for the children who were sitting beside him anyway. They said sorry that our bunny died. Then they got in the van and left.
I went inside and found the bunny was cold and stiff. Hop Hop didn’t make it. I’m sure there’s a lesson in here somewhere. I’m not sure what it is. It did remind me of the verses in James where it talks about taming the tongue. I can give away our house and all that is in it but if I tell the person they’re stupid and we don’t like them, what good does it do?
Janice sat down broke the news to Adi. She took it well. “Mommy, now we can get a NEW bunny!” Until then I’ll put the custom built bunny house, food and water dishes, and bunny leash and harness into storage. I’m very happy that the children didn’t see it happen. It was a sad day but the good news is that bunnies were designed as a food source so they populate quickly and don’t cost much. We will get another one. I just hope that the God can use the interaction with the lady and her kids even though I screwed it up.
Sometimes things just don’t go that well.
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