Episodic Journal

Iwan Njoto Sandjaja

Catching the Rabbit

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The Night the Rabbit Broke Down

by Bob Buford after a conversation with Dallas Willard

It’s a false thing
and all the yelping dogs must know it.
But they’re caught up in the pure
thrill of the chase,
doing what they have been trained to do.

The starting bell clangs.
The gate smash open,
and out they come in hot pursuit.
Adrenalin pumping.
Eyes on the prize.

The mechanical rabbit bobbing ahead
always pursued, never caught.
The pell mell energy of the other
dogs, all in a rush!

The vibrant, muscular pulse has a
visceral charge to it that is more compelling
than cool reason. The training
takes over — not thinking,
but raw action in response to
known stimuli.

Like a middle linebacker when
the ball is snapped–all instinct.

But one day–
The bell rings,
the gates open,
the same mad rush down the track.

But then… something new, something unexpected
and unprepared for happens–
The dogs catch the rabbit!

Yecch! Is this what I’ve been
chasing all these years?
Surely this isn’t it!

Confusion reigns. The dogs don’t
know what to do. They’re just
leaping around, yelping,
and biting one another.

What now? What next?
No habit pattern to replace
the instinctive logic of the
race that has made unthinking
sense of this mad dash.

The race itself was the thing.
The hot pursuit that has given
form and forward momentum to
day after day.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Got to eat
Got to sleep
Got to stay in shape.

Another season, another race,
another chance to win,
a plane to catch,
a pitch to make,
people to impress,
a risk to take.

Another rabbit to chase,
another trophy to win,
it’s all momentum!

But what if the rabbit breaks down?
then what?
then what?
even in the midst of pandemonium.

and God who inhabits the silence…
God who has
been there all along.

God, help me I pray.
Give me another rabbit to chase,
a new problem to solve,
only this time:
a rabbit that won’t break down,
a rabbit that always stays ahead of me.

Give me a rabbit that’s
worth chasing!