Doerrfeld, Cori (2018). The Rabbit Listened. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Yes, this is a review and recommendation to YOU for a children’s book. It seems to me, the older we get, the more aware we are of the wisdom of children and the seemingly simple lessons they offer us.
The Rabbit Listened is a comfort book and a wisdom book. It is a precious reminder of the essential qualities needed in caring truly for our friends as they hurt.
In a brief summary, the child, Taylor, builds an amazing tower of blocks. But then, a flock of birds comes through and topples this careful creation. Different animals enter in one-by-one with their own strategy for “helping” Taylor to cope with the loss of the tower. But Taylor doesn’t like or isn’t ready for any of these fixes. Taylor is finally left all alone.
Enter the rabbit.
The rabbit does nothing but stay close, and warm, and listen.
I don’t want to tell you the whole end, but it is a remarkable little story and one worth visiting the Children’s section of your local book store to finish. The ending is particularly poignant in our understanding of grief in that, Taylor does go on to move through some of the motions proposed to him earlier. The key is he does it in his own time and isn’t attached to anyone else’s agenda or timeline for healing or movement.
May we all be more like the rabbit: patiently waiting and without judgment or agendas. May we all be more like Taylor: willing to have boundaries and a determination to move when we are ready and not before. Finally, may we all be aware when we are pushing others to do what they aren’t yet ready for.
Sadly, many grieving people are given up on because their way of grieving doesn’t align with someone else’s opinion of how it should be. When we can be aware enough of our own expectations and lay them down for the sake of understanding and loving someone – we are doing our very best.