In this Christian allegory I contrast the race with the prize; the reward with the journey. The Christian message is that self comes second to others; that the journey is more important than the destination and that relationship is the thing that really matters – our relationship to our Creator, and our relationship with others, which flows from that first one. When we have faith that God loves us; that He cares; that He is in control; that the world is in His hands (not ours) then we can do and be what He wants us to do/be naturally. This Short Story should help build our faith. It was faith that the party would still be going when he got there that kept the Slow Bunny from rejecting making friends along the way.
They laughed when the Slow Bunny wandered up to the starting line, just minutes before the race began.
“Typical of that old fool!” they mocked. “Look he’s just chatting away to those officials as if the race isn’t even going to start on time!”
One minute past the hour, two minutes past the hour and one of the officials suddenly noticed that they had all been laughing and joking so much with the Slow Bunny that the race started late. The other rabbits were all furious that the Slow Bunny had delayed the race by those two minutes and took off at a rate of knots when the starter’s gun finally fired.
The Slow Bunny too started off like the rest but paused after a few hops, then turned to the officials he had just got chummy with. He stopped and shouted back to them, “Join us at the other end for the party why don’t you?”
“See you there, Slow Bunny!”
“What do you drink, Mr Bunny?” some smart official asked as Slow Bunny hopped off into the distance.
“Whatever you’re going to bring!” Slow Bunny shouted back as he hopped off into the distance.
It wasn’t a long racecourse but it did wind its way through a few properties and across a schoolyard, under a road and across a park . . . but first he had to negotiate the carrot paddock. What a temptation that was going to be!
“Those other fast rabbits were sure to have eaten the best of the carrots,” was all he could think as he rounded the corner.
No! He could see all their rabbit tracks going through, around and even right over those beautiful carrots. He stopped to nibble on one, but it was so nice he ate it all. Then hopped a little more and repeated the exercise. “This is definitely one of the better races I’ve been involved in the Slow Bunny chuckled to himself.
When he got to the school he met up with some children playing cricket outside. They were actually not on the cricket pitch, they were searching for their cricket ball at the edge of the field. “Oh I know where your ball will be!” the Slow Bunny said, and he started to dig into the rabbit warren to retrieve their ball.
A big thank you came the Slow Bunny’s way and the children asked him what all the rabbits were doing going out in the daytime like that. The Slow Bunny told them all about the race and how they were going to have a big party at the end of the race.
“Well the other rabbits went that way but if you cut through the bush and across the river this way then you’ll get there faster!” one of the boys suggested. When the Slow Bunny looked puzzled, the children explained that they had just built a brand new bridge across the river. It was now a much quicker way to go.
“Oh thank you everyone – do enjoy your game!” the Slow Bunny wished them well.
“Well, so, what’s the menu gonna be at your party Slow Bunny? Rabbit food?” one of the cheeky girls asked him. The others laughed at the girl’s joke.
“Not if you bring something else!” the Slow Bunny replied with a smile!
He crossed the new bridge and found himself almost right in the centre of the park. He hopped off to the burrow that went right under the road. “That’s funny he thought,” there were no rabbit trails in this burrow at all. Maybe he was in the wrong place after taking the new bridge? Surely he couldn’t be ahead of the other rabbits could he? Maybe he was?
He was a short way into the burrow under the road when he heard it getting closer and closer, a distant rumbling sound . . . like . . . just like a million rabbits all pounding down on top of him. He tried to get to one side in the tunnel to let the others past and got knocked left, right, in his ears, his little tail got muddy and his eyes full of soil. He was battered and bruised from letting the others go through so much that he sat there stunned for a good couple of minutes before he limped to the end of the tunnel, out into daylight and met up with the other rabbits at the finish line.
“My goodness!” one of the faster rabbits shouted, “Here comes the Slow Bunny like he’s been digging his way here! Look at him all dirty and dusty. However did you get here so fast?”
The timekeeper clicked his stopwatch as the Slow Bunny hopped across the line and there was only three minutes between the winner and the Slow Bunny.
“Incredible!” he said. I would never have guessed it but my watch never lies and we all saw him with our own eyes didn’t we?
The rest of the officials all came up and congratulated the winners. They shared lots of drinks and then had a special award for Slow Bunny – carrot juice! “No thanks fellas! I’ve had enough carrots for the day – that carrot paddock was a dream come true wasn’t it?”
The other rabbits stared at the Slow Bunny again incredulous . . . “You mean you actually stopped and ate some of them?” they wondered how he could have had the time to do that. “We never dared to slow down, so that we could win the race!”
“But only one of you actually won the race and you are all now hungry?” the Slow Rabbit asked – it was his turn to be incredulous. Then when he could hear the children in the distance, he said simply, “No matter. Refreshments are arriving just in time. Don’t be afraid. Stay here. My friends are coming.”
The children arrived and shared their food with all the other hungry rabbits. The Slow Bunny looked on with pride. He had been trampled in the tunnel and hadn’t won the race but he had heaps of new friends with the officials and his new friends from the school whom he had helped find their ball were now his good friends.
That made his day.
And just to top it all off, they told the other rabbits that they were silly to have run all the way around the river when they could have just used the new bridge. Slow Bunny had bothered to stop and help them find their ball down a rabbit burrow – that’s why he knew about the new bridge.
Oh the fun they all had laughing and joking about how ‘lucky’ the Slow Bunny was, but that really, everybody loved him, even though he was so S-L-O-W!
As they were all departing for their homes, they looked around for the Slow Bunny. They could see him a couple of houses down the road chatting up a dog with its owner on one side and a cat with her owner on the other side of a fence.
“That’s our Slow Bunny!” one of the fast rabbits quipped. “That little fella would make friends with anybody. Next thing he’ll be chatting up the milkman!”
The others had all gone when the Slow Rabbit leaned back into the fencepost and smiled at the dog. “If my owner wasn’t here . . . ” he could read in the dog’s eyes.
Then the bells from the milk truck rang in the distance . . . “Ah yes! Anyone want some milk?” he asked.
They’d all gone but Slow Bunny was still there, and he liked milk, especially at the end of a busy day!