In the last month or so, two of my friends have lost a parent. One flew over to England, knowing it was to say goodbye to his mom and she died 30 minutes after he arrived. The other had no chance like that as his father died of a heart attack. In support of him and his family, I went to the funeral. They gave everyone a bookmark on which was written, in his own handwritting, the motto he wanted to live by. He had written it in the last week of his life but his family and friends all knew that he had been living it for years. It was:
Live simply, Love generously,
Care deeply, Speak kindly...
Leave the rest to God
It made me think lots about what motto I am living by. I know years ago I wrote one, but am I living it? Is it what I want to live by? It was:
Without purpose, Life is just existance,
Without passion, Purpose is wasted energy,
BOING is my word, but it is very hard to describe. It comes from the sound that Tigger makes as he bounces around all over the place and it is related to 2 Corinthians 5:13 (If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit.[NLT]) It was meant to encapsulate the fact that we should be using our life, all of our life, to be making a difference for God, even if that difference is not understood by anyone else. We should have a reason for why we do things (a purpose) and we should care deeply about that reason (a passion) if we are going to make the kind of difference God is calling us to. OK, all those we's should be me's, because this is MY life motto and what I feel (or at least felt) God is (or was) calling me to.
What is the purpose that changes my life from an existance? The obvious answer would be to live for God, but I am looking for something more specific. That is true for everyone (or should be), but what does God want as the purpose for MY life? For that answer I find myself going back to the beginning, yes, the start of it all:
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God's nature.
He created male and female.
God blessed them:
"Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air,
for every living thing that moves on the face of the Earth."
Genesis 1:27-28 (The Message)
The last phrase includes those animals which are not exactly on everyone's favourite list, but which I have a passion (key word) for: Reptiles and Amphibians. Amphibians in particular are in danger of going extinct, vanishing from the world completely, because of what we, as a human race, have done! God created these fascinating creatures and gave them to us to look after, but we haven't been doing so well at that job. Can I make a difference? Can I save some of them? Not single handedly, but with a team of people, a team already in place at the place I work... Could this be the reason why I work here, even though it is not always the easiest thing to do?
Yes, there is ALOT that I would love to change about the place I work, and even more that just drives me absolutely insane, but if I just focus on the Snake Park (which is divorced from the rest of the complex, but the physicality and the fact that a large portion of the staff never come in due to phobias and such like...) it does paint a better picture. There have been some vast improvements in the public image last few months and with the proposed budget for next year, these improvements should continue. Our collection is changing to fit the plan mcuh quicker than anticipated with us hopefully getting our Southern African Rock Pythons by the end of the year!! I can hardly wait for these beautiful creatures to join our family. For the first time in years, we will be doing weekly snake shows for the public and various other activities during the summer season, which I am very excited about.
And then there is the frogs, well, froglets! We have a collection of tadpoles, some were caught, while others were collected as eggs. Some of the tadpoles have already morphed into froglets and are just too adorable for words. All of the species we are working with are common ones found in
and around PE, but this is training for our Endangered Frogs of the Eastern Cape Breeding
Program. We intend to run captive breeding programs for three of our most endangered species and then re-introduce the offspring to suplement the wild population and help them survive. My colleague is working hard on the field work research which will help me to know exactly what each species requires to breed successfully. We are also looking for funding for this project, which will save a group of animals that God created and man is destroying. I am also using the project for my Honours project in Zoology in the next two years, which is another exciting exercise!
I guess I have a purpose, and I definetely have a passion for that purpose, so I better be off now so I can go BOING!!