I grew up right up the hill from a beautiful nature preserve called the Norman Bird Sanctuary. Dad always enjoyed walking the woodland trails there, and would take us often as kids. He would say that the woods were his church. My love of the woods was born of these excursions with him, and as an adult I find them to be very healing and heart opening.
In the woods yesterday, I was thinking of these walks with my dad as a child. A memory came to me of my often asking him to repeat the Tale of Brer Rabbit and The Fox. Do you know that story?
Brer Rabbit is caught by Fox, who intends to have him for his supper. Rabbit spies a briar patch nearby, and decides to outwit the mean, old Fox. Rabbit says to Fox pleadingly, “If you must, go ahead and eat me for your supper, but please, oh please, promise you will not throw me in that briar patch!!” Fox, being quite the villain, is spurred on by Rabbit’s cries and he tosses Rabbit right into the briar patch. This is, of course, exactly where Rabbit wishes to be. He easily maneuvers himself through the briars, and safely out of Fox’s reach.
Dad would be so dramatic in his telling. It makes me smile to think of it…
“Please, Oh Pleeeasssee! Anything but the briar patch!!”
As I was recalling this story of Brer Rabbit, I couldn’t help but think about my recent personal revelations regarding my discomfort with deep sadness and anger. These emotions feel so uncomfortable to me that I imagine them to be not unlike the sensation of being tossed into a briar patch.
Then, this thought occurred to me…
What if, when you are trapped, being thrown “into the briar patch” is actually what is necessary in order to survive? What if the only way out, is through?
When you emerge, you will be free.
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