When We Come Face to Face with the Circle of Life
It’s one thing to talk about my weird experiences that I’ve had a chance to look back on and gain insight from.
But its a whole other thing to talk about the weird experiences that I’m smack dab in the middle of. This is one of those stories.
Hopefully you’ll find solidarity if you are stuck in the thralls of an uncomfortable situation yourself.
Warning: it is kinda disturbing… Proceed at your own risk.
The weirdest morning I’ve had all month
Even though the weirdest morning I’ve had all month happened within the first week, I’m not counting on anything out-weirding this one for a while.
At least I hope not.
When I got home from work the evening before this weird morning, my husband, Joe, told me he found a cute grey bunny in our yard earlier that day. After some detective work, he figured out it was our neighbor’s bunny, Violet, and returned her to her family.
He said he had a hunch Violet was someone’s pet because she never tried to run from him and even let him pick her up on the first try. It seemed she was perfectly content with the world, just out on an afternoon stroll.
I was thankful our husky, Bauss, didn’t notice her first since he has a very high prey drive. If that was the case, little Violet’s afternoon stroll would have likely been cut short — permanently.
The next morning (the weird morning), I was getting ready and thought it was curious why Bauss wasn’t hanging out with me like he normally does in the morning.
Are you piecing together this foreshadowing?
I went outside and called Bauss’s name until he emerged around the corner with a stuffed animal in his mouth. Except, his stuffed animal toys aren’t that big, are they?
Nope. They aren’t.
But Violet is.
I stood, horrified, as he approached the edge of the deck. I was frozen in the paradox of my domesticated animal acting out his un-domesticated instincts. Bauss was probably feeling quite proud of what he had done.
But to me and the rest of the human world, Violet wasn’t prey. She was a pet; a part of the family.
Animals hunting, catching and killing other animals is a central part of the circle of life. But even so, it was extremely uncomfortable for me coming face to face with my dog’s part in it.
No matter how much I want to ignore the natural process of death in my perfect little suburban, first-world life, I couldn’t ignore it when it was hanging out of my dog’s mouth.
But wait, it gets worse
Eventually he laid down in the yard, placed the very deceased Violet right in front of him, and dared me to try and get her.
His favorite game of all time is keep-away and since the image of him tossing Violet’s body around like he does a tennis ball seemed far too traumatic, I tried a different tactic to separate him from the bunny.
I turned the sprinklers on.
He hates the water. Hates it.
So he was only able to endure the wrath of the sprinklers for less than thirty seconds before he begrudgingly got up and carried Violet’s body to the sliding glass door, ready to take her inside with him.
After some resistance to my commands to drop her and go inside, he eventually obeyed and I shimmied through the door sideways behind him.
Once inside, I called my husband, Joe, who said he’d be over soon to help dispose of the bunny, which was staring a hole through my soul from where it lay right beside the sliding door. Bauss was still fixated on it through the other side of the glass and it was creeping me the eff out.
It was way too uncomfortable just sitting in the house trying to ignore the dead bunny right outside my door, so decided I should take care of it myself. I had a feeling it was a bad idea, but in my effort to get rid of my uncomfortable emotions ASAP, I ignored it.
Wish I wouldn’t have.
Because this is what I did: I scooped the bunny up with a shovel and put her in the yard debris bin.
Our neighbors were on vacation so what else what I supposed to do with her? Yard debris is more humane than the garbage can, right? …right??
I put the yard debris on the curb because it was garbage day and then headed out to an appointment I had that morning.
Joe called on my way to my appointment and asked where I put her. When I told him I put her in the yard debris, he clarified that our neighbor’s wife was still home and didn’t go on vacation, so it would probably be good if we put her in a box for now in case our neighbors wanted to bury her with their children or something.
The warm wash of shame flooded my veins as I realized what I had done. How could I have been so inconsiderate? I didn’t even think of burying her. Or at least giving our neighbors the option to decide what to do with her.
But knowing Joe was on his way to the house to take her out of the yard debris and put her in a box for our neighbors made me feel better. It was the least we could do.
Just as I pulled up to my appointment 15 minutes later, I got another call from Joe saying that literally RIGHT as he was pulling up to the house, he saw the yard debris man dumping out our can.
It was too late.
Violet was gone.
My mistake was made permanent.
So, now what?
This whole situation is too much of a coincidence for me to take it lightly. The fact that the very next day after we were thankful Joe found Violet first, Bauss found her first. And the fact that the moment Joe arrived at the house was the exact moment the yard debris was dumped. And the fact that the appointment I was heading to that morning was for deep emotional therapy work.
I mean, come on.
It might be easiest to adopt the philosophy that stuff happens with no rhyme or reason and life’s just about moving on from the bad things as quickly as possible. Which isn’t necessarily a bad philosophy, but I tend to use it as an excuse not to deal with the uncomfortable emotions the “bad things” bring up.
Not dealing with these uncomfortable emotions creates repeating (and painful) patterns until I finally deal with them. So I’m trying to avoid that.
What works best for me in the long run is when I sit with my uncomfortable emotions long enough for them to teach me something. If I can stay patient and open, a profound life lesson always emerges.
So, here goes.
I welcome my feelings of sorrow for this little bunny Violet’s life that was taken.
I welcome my feelings of discomfort for my dog being the one who killed her.
I welcome the shame I feel for putting her body in the yard debris without considering what our neighbors would want.
I welcome the judgement I may receive from others for my dog killing an innocent bunny and for putting her body in the yard debris.
I welcome the sorrow from my neighbor’s family as they come to terms with the fact that Violet is forever gone.
I welcome all of the uncomfortable emotions that arise from everyone reading this, even those uncomfortable emotions I cannot foresee.
I will make space for all of these emotions instead of try to ignore, avoid, medicate or react against them.
I will continue to sit with them swirling around me for as long as it takes for meaning and insight to develop.
I trust that if I can find the space and am brave enough to welcome everything a situation holds, even the uncomfortable parts (especially the uncomfortable parts), I will emerge a stronger and freer person.
If you are going through an uncomfortable situation and haven’t reached the other side, I am right there with you, friend. Let’s sit in this together. I know we will become better people because of it.
Cheers to hoping something good can emerge from all this mess.
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Originally published at ourweirdlives.com on August 8, 2017.