Thursday, July 21, 2016

Of Harmony and Upward Mobility

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words:  Be joyful.  Grow to maturity.  Encourage each other.  Live in harmony and peace.  Then the God of love and peace will be with you.  2 Corinthians 13:11(NLT)
Continuing with our journal from a short-term mission trip to South Africa:

Zimbabwe Journal, 
Sunday afternoon, October 7, 2007

Game Drive – Hwange National Park/Preserve
“Wild animals cannot be scheduled – however, our guide, Livingston, is a native Zimbabwean who grew up walking daily in this African bush.  Over the years reading and observing the wildlife have made him a storehouse of information and wisdom concerning life in the bush.

He knows, for instance, that the red-billed weavers that build their nests like plumes at the end of tree branches do so to avoid having the heavier eagles land near their nests, endangering their young.  The mother will nearly close off the entrance to prevent snakes from entering, and the male will bring food to feed the group through the tiny opening.  They also build an exit as well as entry hole to vary their comings and goings; these are wise and faithful parents, protecting their young against the dangers.

During the dry season (which is every month except Oct/Nov) water determines almost every aspect of life here.  The elephants move in herds to find water. 

Today the watering hole was spectacular – as many as 30-35 elephants, a half-dozen giraffes, dozens of baboons, kudu (antelope) and at least one sullen and cranky croc.  When one giraffe was startled by a huge catfish jumping out of the water, probably scared by the croc, the whole group of antelope and giraffes dashed back from the water.  The kudu were barking and the elephants playing nervous trumpet!

This land is spectacular and ugly.  The brutality of beasts hunting and being hunted is echoed by the Spartan lifestyle of African people scratching-out an existence. 

This bull elephant decided to challenge our presence near the water hole.  We drove off, and his pride was protected.  (Not that we were much of a threat; He was less than 30 feet away, and I distinctly remember when he looked at us with that menacing stare that I wanted my mother!)

For all the violence of African bush life, there is beauty and order.  When considered against my Western worldview, there is a sense of futility in this lack of abundance and opportunity; “upward mobility” would be a strange phrase in Africa!  Yet things have stayed the same here for millennia.

Opportunity is also a word that can be applied to our Western culture’s lifestyles of self-destruction.  When you compare the human isolation of Western (so-called) civilization to the simplicity of Zimbabwean survival by cooperation and perseverance, it makes one wonder who, indeed, is the savage.

For You Today

Have you done some thinking lately about what’s really important?

You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!


[i] Title Images: Russell Brownworth (own work)

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