Speak Eagle

The Night the Mute Bunny Found His Voice

(To hear me read this post, click on the audio panel above)


For many of us, it takes a while to find our voice. We’re afraid no one will listen, or those who listen won’t value what we have to say. So we stay silent.

At one of my jobs right out of college, my boss reminded me that they had hired me for my opinions so I needed to speak up. Afraid of being fired, I spoke up. And then after I spoke up he realized he had gotten a lot more than he had bargained for.

Now that I’ve found my voice, one creature in our house really bugs me. It’s not the birds- they use their voices all day long, and it’s not the cat- he definitely exercises his voice- especially when he’s hungry.

It’s the bunny. The mute bunny. His name is Louie. photo-1

Now, I suppose all rabbits are mute, but I think Louie is extra mute. He never makes a peep, not even when the cat bats his ears or the 5-year old drops him on his head.

When Louie is hungry, as I wrote in a past blog post, the most he can do is slam his empty food dish against the side of his cage. And while I realize that’s communication, it’s not verbal communication. And that bugs me. Because I’m a professional communication coach and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about his exceedingly poor verbal skills.

But after the other night, I take it all back.

At 4:25am, I awoke suddenly to screaming. Ear-splitting screaming. And not just one scream- but continuous screaming. At first I thought it might be one of my children having a terrible nightmare. Like they had been abandoned on Jupiter with no fruit snacks. But it didn’t sound quite like a child. It sounded like…like a terrified animal.

I ran downstairs and flipped on the light on the back deck. And there was a huge, 30lb raccoon attempting to work his magic on the latch of Louie’s cage! He already had a handful of fur, which must have only whet his appetite for fresh, screaming rabbit.

I opened the door, clapped my hands along with a “Get outta here!,” and rescued the no-longer-mute bunny from his imminent demise. When I picked Louie up, his little heart was racing a mile a minute. Clearly, his awareness of danger and his fear of being eaten had kicked in his adrenaline. But I think his heart might also have been racing because….

…he had finally said something! All of those months and years of being dropped on his head and having his ears batted by a cat had built up until he just couldn’t stand it anymore. All it took was a big, burly raccoon to tip the bucket, and he was suddenly ready to say what he felt. Loudly. Passionately.

(Or maybe he was just plain scared, but I’m choosing to believe the former because it makes him seem so much more complex.)

Chip Dodd writes in Voice of the Heart that fear awakens us to danger and begins the path of wisdom. And this is a good thing. Being afraid of losing our job or afraid of losing something we love can sometimes give us the courage to say what we think, express what we feel, and finally find our voice.

Just…try not to do it by screaming at 4:25am.

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