Tolerance of others depends on how you view their status
That bunny is still on my mind.
Those who saw my last post know I was quite upset by Grace’s actions earlier this week. Some might say, “Get over it.” And I will. For the record, I do know that this situation isn’t the end of the world, nor does it rank up with the really critical issues of today, such as those without a home or a job, or the effects of war.
It’s not like I can’t function or that I’m not sleeping. (Just in case any of you reading this, including my husband, might be worried about my mental stability.)
But I do think that events that move you are ones that give you an opportunity for deeper thought and exploration, if you choose to delve into it. One of the things that bothered me was my role in how those few minutes unfolded. I’ve replayed the scene and thought of things I could have, and should have, done differently. Supportive comments made on the blog and to my personal email (thank you all) helped me through that a lot, but I’m still ultimately responsible.
And I look at my sweet, innocent, Grace that I adore, and think to myself: “How could you have done such a deadly act to something that wasn’t even threatening you?”
Then despite my sense of incomprehension of her actions, I find myself with an even deeper level of appreciation and love for her. How does that work?
But perhaps the biggest jolt was a realization of my attitude towards what she killed. In talking with friends here, several pointed out that it was likely not a wild rabbit, but a domestic one that had gotten loose, perhaps by mistake, or perhaps purposely ousted by its owner. Knowing this could have been someone’s pet made it a hundred times worse to me. And that bothered me.
In the rabbit world, why would a wild bunny be less important than a domestic bunny? It’s like saying that a nurse is less important than a doctor. Or a manufacturing worker is less critical to the success of a product launch than her manager is. Yet we know culturally, that’s the way our system works, even though intellectually we know it shouldn’t be that way. In our organizations, we look at status via the position the person holds and how we perceive their ranking in the larger scheme of things.
And here I am, realizing that my horror is intensified for the wrong reasons. Yes, the big difference is that people’s lives were likely also impacted if this rabbit had an indoor home, but it’s more than that. Rabbits rank higher on my sensitivity scale than a pesky squirrel (which I must confess, Grace has made dinner of before on two occasions). Those were terrible occurrences, too, but they just didn’t have the same impact on me and that’s the point I’m living out this week.
The tolerance we have and our willingness to accept, support, and appreciate another being is directly related to how we perceive their status. Are they worth our time? Our energy? Our sadness? Our protection?
And my fear is that worthy beings, in all kinds of settings, may not get the attention they deserve. Do you have a pesky squirrel or wild rabbit in your organization that deserves to be treated better?