Thursday, February 16, 2012

Elephants - Another Lesson in Love

Did you know that it has been documented that elephants grieve the loss of others in their herd? Did you know that they are among nature's smartest creatures? (Check out more on "elephant cognition" here: )

What fascinates me is how they take care of others in the herd. Here is a video of several elephants "rescuing" a baby elephant in danger of drowning. If you're too busy to see a minute of gentle "trunk-assisted" attempts to bring the toddler to shore, skip to the halfway point.

I continue to be amazed at the beautiful complexity of nature our Father has engineered. I'm a big fan of "benevolent" species, with dogs, dolphins, and now, elephants topping my list of favorites. I'm equally amazed, however, at how quickly (and frequently) humans can forget basic levels of kindness and compassion. We may be on the "endangered list" of benevolent species.

Such a loss of basic human concern has been evident in so much of the media's treatment of the death of Whitney Houston. I understand the public's fascination with celebrities, but I also know at the heart of this media frenzy, is a grieving family who does NOT need to be the opening segment of "Entertainment Tonight."

Her death was tragic, but she was still a human being deserving of some kind of dignity immediately after her passing. Instead, she becomes the subject of scores of entertainment, news, and news magazine programs, not to mention the rest of the media world (i.e. internet!). That would be fine if the focus was on her contributions to the entertainment industry (which are mentioned, of course), but the media goes far beyond that. Even before her body can moved to her hometown, headlines talk of "a life of squandered opportunities," "Whitney's appearance at a club the night of her death," "exclusive photos of the bathtub where she died," etc.

I realize there are lessons to be learned from Whitney's life and death, but is it too much to ask that people wait until after the funeral to begin that process? I know it's too much to ask of the media to "behave" appropriately so soon after a celebrity's death, but it does remind me how Christ-followers can be "media outlets" of their own, with lives publicizing compassion, understanding, caring, and above all else...LOVE. How desperately the world needs the good news of Christ's love, and most won't go to the Bible on their own to find out. First they must "see" there's love to be found, and they are looking at the qualities of our lives as a reason to investigate a different path than the one they're on.

So don't let elephants show us up as a species! Find some way today to be genuinely compassionate and helpful to someone in need! You may be just the stimulus someone needs to find out Jesus really does love them, too!

You can be loving right now, by pausing to pray for Whitney Houston's daughter and the rest of her family who are trying to grieve with 100's of photographers and media vans sitting outside their house.

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