A couple of days after Christmas, we went to the Waco Zoo with Kevin and April and Peter.
The weather was nice, the sun was shining, and lots of animals were out. I saw things that I hardly ever usually saw. Then I remembered that Peter and I are often at the zoo in the warmer and much, much warmer times of year. As in: What animal would want to be out in that awful Texas summer heat? Well, besides Peter and I.
First, we went to see the gibbons, Kevin’s favorite place at the zoo, right at the entrance. Then, we went to the part of the zoo Peter loves best, where he jumps on a pad that makes music. After that, we went on along to see the elephants. (One early summer morning, Peter and I were watching an elephant eating hay. A keeper then let another elephant into the area. The first elephant picked up as much hay as he could manage, all coiled up in his trunk, and walked across the enclosure, as far as he could get from the other elephant. He stopped, dropped the hay on the ground, and began munching away at his breakfast. I guess it was one of those not-my-hay-you little-upstart! kind of moments.)
After watching the elephants for a while, we were about to move on to the rhinos when a group of young adults, two guys and two girls, rushed over from the rhinos’ space, laughing breathlessly. “Oh, yes! Here!” one of them said. They went up to the railing and, all together, leaned back against the barrier, and one of them held out a Selfie Stick and they all grinned. They cried, “Text it! Text it!” Then they ran off, in the direction of the lemurs and gibbons.
So, here we are at one of the state’s best zoos, and there are some folks who aren’t looking at the animals. They’re not learning about the animals. They’re not even particularly interested in the animals. They’re just taking pictures of themselves with the animals. And it rather looks like the animals are watching them!
Here’s how we do the zoo:
Maybe it was some sort of game, like a camera-centric scavenger hunt. But, if it were me, and I had to pay to get into the zoo, even just for a lark, I think I’d want to get my money’s worth, instead of having the photographic evidence that I’d turned my back on every single thing that represents the reason the facility exists in the first place.
When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 (New Revised Standard Version)
I guess we do find what we’re looking for: in our day-to-day lives, in our workplaces, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our churches, and in our God. It’s easy to look for, and find, the shallow. It’s harder to look for and find the deeper, the more important, the eternal.