For most of my life if I had guessed which was more likely: talking to a rabbit or talking to a rabbi, I probably would have guessed rabbit.
Rabbits can’t even talk, I know this because in first grade we did a craft project where we made a puppet of our favorite animal and a sign with the sound they made, and my teacher said I couldn’t make a rabbit because they don’t make sound.
“Rabbits don’t talk.” she said.
“But they can scream.” I said. They can, they scream when threatened with death.
First grade was a while ago and I’ve still never talked to a rabbit but a few weeks ago I was talking to a rabbi.
Rabbis love talking about life. The rabbi said life, is like a cross-stitch. On our side it may look messy, and we may not understand why things are the way they are. But the reason is that there is another side of the cross-stitch we can’t see, and on that side everything has a purpose and creates a beautiful picture.
I wasn’t that interested in the metaphor. Mostly because, to be honest, crafting metaphors have never done much for me. I appreciate a good hill metaphor any day, and I’m even pretty into laundry metaphors and airport security metaphors, but anything that compares my life to hot glue, sequins, beading, or needlework, just doesn’t really resonate. So I forgot about it completely until last week, when I was at the police department.
At the beginning of summer I dropped my wallet somewhere in the forest, and considered it more gone than anything else I have ever lost. I lose socks and notebooks just like everyone else but this wallet was gone forever. To put it in crafting terms it was like… a very small piece of felt dropped in a shag rug? I really don’t love crafting metaphors. The wallet was gone. That’s the best way I can explain it.
So I replaced all of it and none of it was even that annoying. I got to learn more about how my bank works and got to visit the DMV, and got to talk with the woman who works at the DMV who told me that someone had broken in that morning and turned the thermostat to 85 degrees and turned all the faucets on. She wasn’t sure who did it. I had a few theories but she didn't think any of them were likely.
I told people that story for weeks, and if I hadn’t lost my wallet I never would have heard it.
Then, months later, after I’d forgotten about the lost wallet and the new license and the DMV and the DMV sauna, I got a letter that the Portland Police Department had my wallet and I could come to a creepy warehouse and get it.
I didn’t think I would care too much about having my wallet back, since I’d essentially cloned it. But reaching through a weird metal security drawer and holding my wallet again changed everything.
And suddenly I was incredibly into crafting metaphors, that cross-stitch one especially. Because this wallet had disappeared into thin air, and then months later, popped up in a different place good as new - there was even a $5 bill, a free drink coupon, and two forever stamps still in it. And there was only one explanation for it all:
I am living on the right side of the cross-stitch.
And now I can’t wait to talk to that rabbi because I know we will talk about life again, and cross-stitching will come up, and I can say I know exactly what you mean. I have tasted the other side of the cross-stitch and it tastes like a free drink from Sisters Coffee Shop, that the manager gave me because I was polite to other patrons, and I put that card in my wallet, which I dropped in the forest, and picked up in an evidence holding facility two months later.
Life is one of my favorite things in the world and if life is what rabbis like talking about than I am into it.
I would talk with a rabbit about it too if the opportunity presented itself.