Monday, December 7, 2009
I've had this bunny for almost 20 years. I named him Humble Bunny.
I had been student teaching in rural Indiana in the fall of 1993. These were country kids, to the core. I was still (mostly) a city girl, with an appreciation for the finer things in life.
On my last day, many of the kids gave me presents. It was SO precious to see these children giving from the heart! One boy got in line and gave me a matchbox car, because he had one in his desk and desperately wanted to give me something.
Another boy, Andrew, was from a well-off family. Always clean cut, well dressed, combed hair, etc. Andrew was a straight A student, always attentive and well behaved. He was the exception rather than the rule. He was in line right ahead of Bobby, who lived with his grandma. His hair was sometimes messy, his clothes at times unkepmt. Bobby would struggle to grab some concepts, and his attention would occasionally drift. But as you will soon see, he had a heart of gold.
Andrew gave me a gift, fancily wrapped with beautiful ribbon. I commented on how lovely it was. I opened the box, and here is this hand made, bright white thing with hand sewn peach ribbons and flowers. I didn't know what it was. You grab the strings and hold it up and it makes these little pouches. A sock holder maybe? I still have it, and I still don't know what it is! I went on and on about this gloriously clean, glowing, crisp white linen and flowery peach gift. Andrew was pleased.
Then Bobby hands me his gift. I'm about to bawl just remembering this moment. Bobby, a little dirt on his face, a few wrinkles in his clothes, and his hair smoothed down as much as possible, handed me this little, filthy, purple bunny. My mind was racing. This child had just given me something of obvious import to him, and it was filthy. I mean nasty filthy. I had just practically swooned over Andrew's gift, and now this.
I looked Bobby straight in the eye and said, "Oh, Bobby! How did you know? Purple is my favorite color!" (Which is totally true!) I gave him a hug, and he beamed from ear to ear. I had tears in my eyes as I went down the line, thinking about the sacrifice that this little boy had made, because he wanted to give me a gift.
As Christmas approaches, I can't help but think of another who made the ultimate sacrifice to give me a gift as well. Jesus left heaven above, a perfect, clean, glowing place, and came down to this mud ball called earth. To the dirt and decay and horror of human-ness. He died a brutal death so that you and I could live in that perfect glowing place called heaven.
To Andrew, it was no big deal to give me that gift, since his mother made it, wrapped it, and handed it off to him. It's in a drawer somewhere. But that bunny. My humble bunny...I keep it displayed wherever I live. It reminds me every single day of how to live my life.