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We Are Not Alone

My cousin is a zookeeper. She mostly works with large animals. She’s one of those who tends to like animals better than people, because of the things people ask and do. She hates working over Spring Break because the crowds are so heavy, the keepers are pulled in to help with concessions. She shared several recent stories over dinner.

Today someone threw a very nice piece of food into the lions’ den. Fortunately, they’d already been fed, so they sniffed, then ignored it. Long story short, the keepers can’t go in to fetch the contraband until the lions are fed tomorrow, so they have no idea if the ‘donor’ spiked it or not.

Another time, a visitor came up and pointed at a rhinoceros and declared, “That’s a hippo, isn’t it?” “No, it’s a rhino,” my cousin gently corrected. “No, it’s a hippo!” Long story short, the visitor concluded, “Rhinos live in rivers and hippos live on land.” My cousin walked off before saying something she’d regret.

Recently, maybe today, a 30-something woman asked Chris what they fed the lions. “Meat” was her reply. The woman asked, “What kind of meat?” “Animal meat.” The woman smiled, looking pleased, “I thought so.” My cousin walked off before saying something she’d regret.

There were several other anecdotes shared that revealed the cluelessness she regularly encounters. It made me realize that we educators are not alone in the world when it comes to dealing with bizarre human behaviour.

The catch is that whenever I think about how silly people can be, I wonder about God’s perspective. He created them and loves them enough to have sent Christ down for ALL of us. How silly do I look to Him sometimes (often??)? He made us, knowing how foolish we can be, and also how noble. It reminds me of the Dufflepuds in C.S. Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and of his quote from 1949’s The Weight of Glory, “You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours.”

No one is a mere mortal…That we “come from the Lord Adam and the Lady both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth.” (from Prince Caspian)

Beggar to emperor, idiot to savant—No mere mortals are we…


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