The following is based on true events. There is no need to change the name of the person involved.

The Happy View Nursing Home was a small, family-atmosphere, skilled nursing center for elderly adults and the in-firmed who needed basic care around the clock. The nurses were busy at their work stations and the residents were lining the main hallway in their wheelchairs when with a stern expression the Chief Administrator announced, “I am saddened to inform you all that as a result of budget cutbacks, we are going to lay off The Bunny Lady. Today will be her last visit to Happy View.”

There was a brief, eerie period of silence followed by shrieks, cries, sobbing, and exclamations of protest. The Bunny Lady was a woman who has visited the facility for years. She came to the facility once a week on Sunday afternoons dressed in Victorian period finery, a full-length, billowy dress with with a small, cornflower blue pattern, a puffy, ruffled bonnet with a chin drawstring, lace gloves, and a parasol over her shoulder. Over right arm, she carried a rabbit in a wicker basket for the residents to see, pet, and enjoy.

The Bunny Lady wasn’t “just a visitor.” For the Happy View residents, she was the weekly main event. When the residents knew she was coming, they’d wait, watching out the windows for her arrival. Once she was spotted, the televisions were shut off, the were radios shut off, and a murmur arose among the residents that she was walking up the front path and almost in the building.

Visiting residents as a group or individually as needed and wandering the facility, The Bunny Lady sang with joy and gusto familiar show tunes, television theme songs, commercial jingles, hymns, and just plain funny songs. She told jokes and had an endless supply of humorous and interesting stories. Each of the residents took turns petting the rabbit in her wicker basket, enjoying the sensation of touching its fur.

The Bunny Lady was also the best listener ever. She would sit in rapt attention when the residents had something they wanted to say or to discuss a matter. The Bunny Lady was part entertainer, part therapist, part friend, part confident, and part parent. Most did not even know her name; she was simply known as The Bunny Lady. The hallways bulletin boards included many photographs of staff members and residents with The Bunny Lady. Everyone wanted their photograph with her.

“This is baloney. The Bunny Lady stays!” exclaimed one irate resident with a cracking voice and boney fist shaking in the air. “You can’t tell me that this facility can’t afford The Bunny Lady! Cut back on something else!” Unfortunately, the decision had already been made by the powers that were.

The Bunny Lady was called into the Chief Administrator’s office and told the bad news. After being laid off, The Bunny Lady visited, listened to, and entertained the residents and staff just as she had for years before leaving. The Bunny Lady never returned to Happy View, but the photographs of her and the staff remained hanging on the hallway bulletin boards for many years. No one…no one…ever forgot The Bunny Lady. New residents lamented that they never met her.

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In each of us…each one of us…resides a Bunny Lady. Christ and the Holy Spirit call on us to love one another, offering guidance, support, companionship, and a listening ear. The Bunny Lady offered the Happy View residents respite from their daily lives and worries and a refuge from the world, even if for only several hours on Sunday afternoons.

Find someone lonely. Someone lost. Someone worried. Someone troubled. Be their Bunny Lady…even if for a couple hours. Jesus did it. The Bunny Lady did it. We can do it.

JG