By G.P. Avants
Welcome to God Among Geeks 200th post!
Netflix is setting the bar with a number of original new series. Flipping through the new choices I was pleasantly surprised to see a classic book being reimagined. (Yes, we do love classic books her on God Among Geeks. We love our fandom movies, TV shows, comics and games, but classic stories are also part of our interests as well.)
Watership Down is one of those stories that delivered a deeper message than some clever and resourceful rabbits trying to discover a safer warren to call home. In the vein of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Watership Down is a commentary on how a free society is born in the midst of others that lie in direct contrast to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It all focused on Hazel an ordinary everyday Joe of a rabbit who took a role as a reluctant leader because no one else would. His young, timid brother, Fiver who experiences visions of the future, warned their warren that total destruction at the hands on men, was eminent. You could say Hazel took a leap of faith and began an adventure that inspired others to do to so as well.
Hazel is a perfect example of a leader who leads by example through his inspirational life. Instead of having it all together Hazel knew to gather a team of rabbits who each had a special gift:
Fiver-Sees the future
Biggwigg: Posses great strength and courage.
Blueberry: The joyful encourager and encourager.
Dandelion: The fastest!
Strawberry: The female touch and emotional strength
Holly: A fallen, humbled leader reborn.
And as this team forms, more rabbits find their place and their natural gifts and talents arise.
Hazel knew he wasn’t Biggwigg’s equal in strength, so he knew when muscle was required his friend stepped forward. Hazel sought counsel from Holly, a former antagonist who had years of leadership experience to draw from. Some risked their lives and reputations because their leader believed that they could rise to the challenge. Hazel trusted his team to take on those challenges without him because of the trust built between them.
Hazel gift was his brain. He used his mind and ingenuity to lead, but his team all had a part of the success. In a true democracy they each embraced their role to play for the foundation of Watership Down. That one-of-a-kind rabbit nation grew into a pillar of strength. It stood unique among other communities or nations that were built on fear, intimidation, slavery, even bizarre religious rituals.
In the world of rabbits there is a law of creation and faith. The Creator is know to all Rabbits as Firth. (Is this a play in the God as being First?) All rabbits call on Firth as their strength, inspiration, and will swear their life and allegiance to him. Hazel draws his ideas and plans from stories he knew of Firth. His acts of courage and faith made founding and establishing Watership Down possible. It was amazing that as Hazel applied his faith first in Firth (I had to make you say that) he created change in the world that amazed others. Because of this Hazel became a legend in his own right.
His team gave a nickname that really began as a tease. “Hazel-Ra! Hazel-Ra! “Great leader! Great leader!” Ironically, he grew into that name as well as this rag-tag team of castaways and oddities. Watership Down embraced those that needed a home when their own no longer welcomed them.( It’s like the rabbit’s version of the Avengers.) They may be an odd collection of castaways, that were united for a common goal.
Yes, this was a very introspective soul-searching piece for me. I have been put in a position of leadership among a creative band of brothers. As we speak we too are attempting to create our little company with nothing more than a dream and a leap of faith. On our podcast, Neekology 101, the team has given me a nickname, The Gov’ner. That is because I lead by example and it isn’t always popular. I have to make tough decisions that affect of of us. But, like Hazel I hope to grow into that name. Like my furry counterpart, I work alongside friends who are much better, faster, stronger, and more courageous than I am. Rudy, John, Ron, our intern Aaron and I are trying to find our Watership Down. The next steps will be to find our place in the world and how to build a place for other creatives to…create.
Much like the rabbits of Watership Down we face many obstacles along the way. Danger and disaster brings out the best and worst in others. It’s like a nudge, a push, sometimes a launching into a new and uncertain adventure. Life has a way of pushing us from our comfort zone. That reality rumbles down deep in the peaceful warren of rabbits and men alike. Like ordinary rabbits we too can become something more than they ever intended. In many ways one fateful, almost prophetic event created a domino effect that truly altered history. We live by faith and impossible things happen. It’s a reminder we are simple people who serve an awesome God who has great plans for us all.