Mano a mano | Eastern North Carolina Now

Lib Campbell: Above
    I saw him from the window. I should not have opened the door. There he stood. He was not shaken in my presence. He stood his ground. He had large ears and scrawny legs. He said his name was Peter. We had a moment.

    I do not have frequent conversations with the rabbits or chipmunks or the other critters with whom I share life in this small yard. But the encounter with Peter was special. I put my fingers to my eyes and turned them to his eyes. We were on the same page. He was dining on the front lawn. I was OK with his eating the grass. I implored him not to eat the flowers, or the tomatoes, or the squash. I thought détente; he thought buffet.

    Consulting Mr. McGregor was not helpful. He was angry with Peter. Tried to stomp him. Tried to trap him under a bucket. I do not see life with Peter as war. I see it as challenge. How can we learn to coexist? Rabbit to rabbit. Rabbit to humans. Humans to other humans. Mano a mano. The heavy hand of Mr. McGregor robs Peter's dignity. He even mocks Peter by making a scarecrow out of Peter's little blue jacket. Mr. McGregor needs a few lessons in kindness.

    Kindness in our care of creation is a simple rule. We live on a very small planet in a relatively small galaxy. The call to hold creation gently is on all of us. There is too much heavy-handedness in the world. We don't speak softly, and we carry big sticks. We must be pretty scary to the smallest and weakest among us.

    The Cottontails have life. They need food and water to survive. They don't have to eat the whole garden, but neither do they deserve to be my enemy. Rules of coexistence apply across species and among all humanity.

    Gardens have always gotten people in trouble. Ask Adam and Eve. Ego played into the original sin, and we got kicked out. Egos that run amuck still gum up even the notions of coexistence. People grab power, want to snuff out the rights of others. Everything that lives is to be held in trust. Even Peter, who grazes the yard uninvited has a place.

    When acrimony fills the air, when people feel free to slur one another, when people with power can't recognize that they are stewards of the public trust, we are in a bad way. Whatever happened to erring on the side of grace? Whatever happened to acknowledging that we could be wrong?

    Learning to coexist is learning to love beyond difference. Catch a vision of the world as it could be. One world. One people. I can't believe it's that hard. Maybe both Peter and Mr. McGregor need a little introspection, reflection and self-examination. The psalmist says it like this, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."

    Some of the ugliness being lived in the world today has got to feel dirty on the inside, like fetters on the heart. The bunny buffet will remain open at our house. We will watch Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail frolic in the yard and pray their little lives are safe from the terrors of the night.

    Lib Campbell is a retired Methodist pastor, retreat leader and hosts the website: She welcomes comments at
Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )

Words matter. The emotions behind them matter even more LibSpeak, Editorials, Op-Ed & Politics Governor Cooper Urges Legislators to Invest in Public Schools and Teachers, Stop Plans to Dismantle Public Education


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

On Thursday, the GOP-led House passed a bill that pressures the Biden administration not to withhold arms from Israel as the U.S. ally fights Iran-backed Hamas following a deadly terrorist attack in October of last year.
bid to stop child genital mutilation follows other European countries
although RINO congressman and House speaker squeak through


The Islamic Republic of Iran’s president and foreign minister and other officials have been confirmed dead after a helicopter crash on Sunday while they were traveling in the eastern part of the country, according to Iranian state media.
President Joe Biden challenged former president Donald Trump to debates last week because Biden needs to swivel the political spotlight away from his record ahead of the election, according to Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro.
For the second time in a week, President Joe Biden made a false claim about inflation — and he did not get away with it as journalists and political rivals called him out on it.
The Missouri Senate approved a constitutional amendment to ban non-U.S. citizens from voting and also ban ranked-choice voting.
Last year's 'Trans Day of Vengeance' gatherings were cancelled after transgender-identifying woman shot up Nashville school
On Tuesday, House Republicans demanded the State Department offer an explanation for the “trend” of U.S. embassy closures and staff evacuations during the past few years of the Biden administration.
NBC News released a statement on Tuesday afternoon announcing that former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel is out at the network just days after the company announced that they had hired her to be a contributor.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin vetoed 30 gun control bills on Tuesday afternoon, using his perch as a Republican governor to restrain Democrats from taking the state in a leftward direction despite the party having taken full control of the legislature in November.
Police in the nation’s capital are not stopping illegal aliens who are driving around without license plates, according to a new report.


Back to Top