Bowls, Bunnies, and Bullies

My rabbit, the house kind that just hops around all the time and doesn’t even have a cage to call his own, seemingly doesn’t like his food in a bowl.  We put it in a little plastic dish intended for a small animal and he dumps it in a heap then grabs his bowl and throws it across the floor.  I have been known to sweep that food up and put it back into his bowl, only to have him repeat the spilling and throwing again when he wants to eat.  I believe it’s easier to find the tastiest little pieces when it is all spilled out on the floor, and it’s a more natural form of grazing.  It’s the way God created rabbits, to snuffle over the ground and find the tasty bits to munch on.  The confined walls of his bowl only frustrate this behavior because they don’t allow the searching.

This little seemingly insignificant behavior led me to think of my son, my all-spilled-out boy.  That’s what he is….he doesn’t hide much of himself and you can’t really find his “place” in the house because his stuff is everywhere.  He just drops stuff all over as he moves through the house.  If I didn’t insist that he pick up all those things and put them in the proper places we would be searching through all the piles for the pieces that are needed or wanted.   He bares himself naked all through his day-the naked raw emotions of the entire spectrum.  He sprawls and drapes himself where ever he settles.  He is physically, mentally, and emotionally all-spilled-out.  Does he need a container? Probably, but only to help him find what he needs, to label his mental and emotional states, and then move on to the next spilling out.  It’s like the rabbits bowl, he needs that bowl in order to find where his food is placed, because unlike a dog, he really doesn’t do a very good job of finding all the little pieces and eating them.  He could be lying right next to a favorite piece of food and not really even notice unless he happened upon it by chance or it was pointed out to him, so putting it all back in his bowl brings the important things together so he knows where to find them, and so he can spill them out again.  And so it goes with the all-spilled-out boy.  He needs order and structure to bring the things together that he needs so that he can spill out again.  It’s a dance. A beautiful life-affirming necessary and sometimes frustrating dance.

Our All-Knowing Creator made this all-spilled-out boy this way on purpose.  He knows us and has a purpose for us even before he creates us (Jeremiah 1:5).  He makes plans for us, plans for us to have a good future, to prosper and to give us hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  He knows and loves us so much that even the hairs on our heads are numbered (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7).  He placed this boy here at this place and time on purpose to all spill out and touch the lives of those around him.

This boy then goes to school, where spilling out of any kind is discouraged by the walls of structure placed around the aspects of the school day.  So, this boy whose nature it is to spill out must try to fit into the walls and structures built into his day.  There is some movement allowed so that physically he can spill out a bit, but is it enough for his physical spilling out needs?  Does he need full body contact with surfaces to comfortably read or can he do it with just the touch of the chair along his backside and the floor under his feet?  Does he need full body contact of other bodies wrestling and tackling or can he do it with just the ground pounding under his feet and the wind flying across his face and through his hair for ten minutes at recess?  He can’t help but emotionally and mentally spill out, and that doesn’t fit with the walls and confined spaces of classrooms, or those of current grade 4 social interactions.  His spilling out gets him noticed.  He’s different.  He reacts when you say things to him.  He spills out when he’s angry, hurt, upset, excited or happy.  Bullies notice this.  This spilling out when they spew hateful things at him.  This spilling out when they ignore or exclude or belittle him.  They see it.  They take advantage of it.

So, what does an all-spilled-out boy do with this bullying?  What does a parent do to help this all-spilled-out boy?  This boy tries to stop spilling, but he can’t.  He looks for help from the teacher, but it doesn’t work-she wants him to contain his spilling out too.  This bully continues the mean words.  This bully appears to grow bigger and this all-spilled-out boy starts to shrink, but he must still spill, because that’s who he is.  He wants this bully and his words to not matter, but the persistence gets through and does matter.  Where are the words to stop the bully?  What are the words to stop the bully? Are there words to stop a bully?

When turning to the creator of all that is good we see His words.  Love your enemy and pray for them (Matthew 5:44). Do not seek revenge for that’s God’s alone, and do good to those who harm you for then you will heap burning coals on their heads (Romans 12:19-20).  Turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39).  He says His grace is sufficient in my weakness (2Corinthians 12:9).

As an adult it is hard enough to read these words and make sense out of them.  What about this all-spilled-out boy?  Can he contain this loving Father in his heart and turn to Him in times of need?  It won’t make sense that His Father in heaven doesn’t come down and protect him in the way that he imagines He should.  That his brother Jesus, won’t come down and stick up for him.  As a parent we assure, hold, soothe, restore what has been damaged to the best we can and all the while inside wanting to do the very same things to those who hurt this boy that he wants to do to them as well.

There are different ways to show strength.  How does my all-spilled-out boy find his courage and his strength?  I know it’s there.  I know he needs to dig way down and find it, but that it needs to be shown the way Jesus showed courage and strength.  To stand straight and tall and know that you are more!  You are more than the words thrown at you!  You are more than the names spewed at you!  Even that bully is more than what he has become.  That bully was made in love for a greater purpose.  That bully was made in the image and likeness of God Himself (Genesis 1:26-27).  I will continue to affirm my boy.  I will continue to arm my boy with tools to stand up straight and tall.  I will give my all-spilled-out boy words to say and words to remember in his heart.  We don’t have much longer here with this bully and this school, but we will be more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37).   There is a battle to be fought here and it will be fought on many fronts.  We will not give up, and we will not grab a hold of those names and words and make them our own.  They are not ours!  They do not belong to my all-spilled-out boy and I will do all I can to make sure he doesn’t pick them up and put them in his pocket or drop them in one of his piles only to find them later.  Some things really do need to go out with the trash!

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made: me, bullies, all-spilled-out boys, and you (Psalm 139:14).  We are loved.  We are made and designed with purpose and intent; with a plan for our lives.  My all-spilled-out boy and my rabbit will continue spilling.  I will continue providing structure and love for the spilled out pieces and we will dance this dance together.

3 Responses to Bowls, Bunnies, and Bullies

  • Julie says:

    Wow, Heather! Beautiful post. Sitting here with tears spilling.

  • Curtis says:

    Where exactly is the facebook like link ?

    • Heather says:

      Thank you for your interest. I am new to this blog world and am learning as I go along. There is a share button for Facebook at the bottom of the post. I will get the “like” button on my posts in the near future. Check back after the weekend and I will try to have it on there then. :)

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