I was living my life, walking The Narrow Road I was called to with my eyes straight ahead when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was a rabbit but not just any rabbit, it was a golden rabbit. It hopped and leaped teasing me to chase it. I ignored it for a while telling the rabbit I had no time for such foolishness. The rabbit paid no mind to my chiding and continued to hop and scat, it’s golden fur glimmering in the sun.
Somewhere inside of me I heard this wanton voice saying
“You’ve never had a golden rabbit have you? Not really. I mean you’ve had some small, white rabbits in the past, and they were good, but they weren’t golden rabbits, were they?”
“No” I answered
“Does this Narrow Road lead to a golden rabbit? I mean, for all your hard work, steady pace, and loyal commitment will you be rewarded with a golden rabbit? ”
” I don’t know. I never thought about it. But, no, I have never had a golden rabbit but I surely would like to have one.”
I heard an inner warning not to leave the road. I had walked this road a long time and can’t remember the last time I left it, if I left it. I had heard of others leaving the road and never returning, but it did’t matter to me, I was off to chase the golden rabbit. Through trees and bushes, under limbs and over logs I ran. It was fun at first. I laughed and found great joy in the chase, but soon I looked up and I was deeper into the forrest than I had expected, The Narrow Road was far from view and I had no idea how to get back even if I wanted to. I realized that I was alone in the woods and was getting dark. As tired as I am, and The Narrow Road no longer in view, it seems all I have left is this golden rabbit to chase.
What I once chased out of want I now chased out of need. For a feeling of accomplishment. I have to make my leaving The Narrow Raod worth something. Now I’m angry at the rabbit, cursing at him loudly to get over here, to obey me. “Don’t you realize how long I have chased you? Can’t you stop and let me hold you for just a minute? Damn you, stop and let me catch you!!” By this point I was drained of patience and hope as I was of energy . I crumple to the ground in hopelessness. No food, no water, no Narrow Road, and no rabbit. I’m lost in the woods and it’s getting dark.
There I sat, My knees bleeding, my hands calloused, with the taste of dirt in my mouth from diving after my elusive prize. I held in my hand a few golden hairs of this beast. I was so close. So close to victory. How long had I been chasing this rabbit? I guess that’s what happens when your chasing after something. You lose your way and then you lose track of time How much more was I going to lose? I guess it depends on how much longer my vain pursuit will last. But I was so close.
I stood up with from the log I was sitting on and stuffed minuscule golden hair in my pocket. I looked around and spotted my prey wiggling it’s tail at me. Taunting me to chase it. I stood there and let it mock me. I didn’t have enough energy to be angry so I settled for indignant. This stupid rabbit has run me ragged. I decided to make one last attempt at capturing this knotty beast. With disregard for life and limb I took off towards the rabbit but it was ready for me. I twisted and turned around dead tress screaming like a mad man. I reached and stretched and lunged with every fiber of my being but to no avail. I yelled with out conscience, cutting the air with violent words hoping that words alone would injure this rabbit enough to at least slow it down.
As I stumbled, I could not help but believe this rabbit had a plan. A plan to lead me as far from the Narrow Road as possible and deeper into to the woods. So far it’s plan was working. But how could such a beast plot and plan, it was just a rabbit, albeit a golden one, but a rabbit none the less. No matter, the chase was on but I now knew my pursuit was pointless.
How much more time had passed I do not know. It seemed liked days not hours had passed. I sat among the trees and watched the sun setting. Dusk engulfing me like a tombs walls. As I sat for a rest I reflected on my journey and that I had not been alone on That Road. My family had been with me. It had been a while since I saw them on the road. I’m a fast walker, they knew this and did not mind me being out ahead of them. I knew they weren’t far behind. What must have they thought? Did they see me run off into the woods? Were they searching for me? Did they think dad had gone crazy? That thought scared me. What have I done? I didn’t just leave The Narrow Road, but my family as well. I never told them where I was going. I just ran off. How disappointed they must have be. They thought I left them without reason. Did they think of me as callous and uncaring? How would I explain this strange desire to run off after a rabbit? How could I justify it? Was it even justifiable?
I had the feeling that no matter what I said or how I explained it, no one would understand. I needed this rabbit. I deserved this rabbit. “More than them? More than Me?” I heard a voice inside say. That was a hard question. At the time it seemed awfully important to me and my need so great to have this golden rabbit. I choked up a bit thinking about what I had done. On the Narrow Road I had purpose, direction, a family, a good job, where is all that now? Regret slipped in like a boa constrictor tightening around my mind and chest crushing my heart. Ever cinch squeezed another ounce of hope from me.
What would I tell my kids? “Sorry kids, dad ran off chasing rabbits. I know I wasn’t there for you but this was really important to daddy. I hope you understand.” Then I imagined arguing with them, defending against their disapproving gaze. “You don’t understand! I earned the right to chase this rabbit! I only have a limited amount of time to catch this rabbit. Do you know how hard I worked to give you everything you wanted? Why can’t you just let me have this one thing, this rabbit!!One rabbit! You people are so selfish!” I shuddered as the words rang hollow. I could feel a tear run down my cold face. I wiped at it with my filthy hand and stared at the indifferent golden rabbit. This rabbit never seem to tire. It never seemed hungry or thirsty. It never needed rest or shelter. Then it hit me. I wasn’t the hunter. I was the prey. I was the fool caught in his own snare.
A wealth of emotion hit me from every direction. I rained down obscenities like a Elijah calling down fire. It was a tantrum of epic proportions. But the rabbit didn’t care that I expelled my rage toward it. It just sat there, staring. Anger turned to remorse and I collapsed into a heap weeping. “I just want to get back to the Narrow Road and my family” I managed to utter through my sobs with my face laying on the cold earth. I mumbled prayers like a prisoner before his death sentence. Like a bum I lay exhausted, with no hope on that cold earth with the moon peeking through the clouds.
As I lay there praying for death I saw a curious thing. I saw the golden rabbit cautiously approach me. My ground view made the rabbit look ten foot tall. Great, I thought, I am going to be killed by a giant, golden bunny. Put that on my tombstone to add to my disappointment. “Come to mock me one more time rabbit?” I thought to myself. It hopped closer and closer until it was almost nose to nose with me. My hands were by my sides and I quickly dismissed a thought of one last grab. I was too weak and I just didn’t care. I just wanted to go home, get back on The Narrow Road. Then the rabbit did a curious thing, it bounced toward me and then away three hops. It did this over and over again. Had I driven the animal insane? Then it came to me, was it asking me to follow it? I just spent hours, maybe days or years of my life chasing him and now he wants me to follow it? How absurd. But what other choice did I have?
I crawled to my hands and my knees and stood upright. Mud, leafs, and blood mingled together over my once well dressed body. I looked like an escaped prisoner. The rabbit did it’s dance a few more times until I took a few steps forward toward the rabbit, at a much slower pace. It weaved it’s way through the darkened landscape inviting me to follow. It knew I wasn’t chasing it anymore. I was now in the humble position of following what I once chased. It was leading me, but where?
Once again, time escaped me as I pushed away limbs and branches from my face until, to my surprise, I arrived at the trail I had leapt upon when this chase first began. The golden rabbit had led me back to where I had started. A lump formed in my throat as I heard the voices of my daughter, two sons, and my wife calling for me. They had never left the road. They had been searching for me all this time. They voices were a mix of prayers and shouts both individual and corporate. They cried out on my behalf. I stepped out of the woods and saw The Narrow Road right in front of me. I was one step way from stepping back on the path I once knew but I was afraid. I was afraid of what my family and what The One who had set me on this path in the first place would say. I had my doubts but I had gone through too much not to risk taking that step. As I stretched out my tired and aching foot to touch The Narrow Road the moon started to fade and the sun peaked through the fog. Dawn was breaking.