Tuesday, September 01 2009
Yesterday I went to an animal park with my grandchildren. What a glorious day! We took the horse drawn wagon ride that takes you through the park and allows you to feed the animals. Deer, water buffalo, elk, pot bellied pigs all circle the wagon wanting you to feed them. You get up close and personal with wet noses, long tongues, and big eyes. Great fun.
The only part of the ride that always tends to make me sad is when you go to see the rhino. He is all alone in a walled compound of dry Carolina clay. Usually he is lying under his little shade canopy. Every time I see him I think" this is not how it is supposed to be ...you don't belong here." But for the other animals I have always thought what a great life, until yesterday.
I drove home and pulled into my driveway at 2:00 in the afternoon, and there in my front yard stood a doe and a very young fawn. If it hadn't been my house I might have thought they were statues! I live on a city street not out in the country and yet here they were, very much alive. Not only were they alive and well, but they were beautiful and glorious.
What really caught my attention was my response to the deer. I was enthralled with them. I wanted to stand and watch them. I wanted to love them and take care of them. Their beauty captured my heart. Then I realized I didn't have that response to the deer at the park...or the goats...or the sheep... or the elk... or the birds. What was the difference?
In a word CAPTIVITY. I think I realized in a moment the glorious beauty of God's original creation and the great tragedy of the "fall". Our original job description was to take care of the zoological kingdom ( Genesis 1:28). We can only imagine what that might have actually looked like. Animal parks as good as they may be, are a faint reflection of that original calling. Captivity as kind and good as it may be some how shrouds the glory. That is what I was "seeing"; the animals at the park had lost their glory. I'd always seen it in the rhino, "this isn't the way it is supposed to be, you don't belong here". Now I could see it in the deer and the other animals. We purchase animals and put them in parks or zoos so we can get up close and personal and we see them like specimens, rather than an incredible part of God's glorious creation.
Glory is lost with captivity...it happens to humans too.