Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Swirl of Feathers

When we get back from our morning walk about the neighborhood before the Seminary students came out, Cyndi and I walk laps in the back parking lot while Anna runs around loose. Monday morning I heard a strange cry – a cat? A bird? I couldn’t tell. Looking around I didn’t see anything. When we looped back around that way again we saw a small bird of prey with its catch. As we neared, it picked up its meal and flew away leaving only a swirl of feathers from the hapless victim. High in a nearby tree, another little grey bird fluttered in obvious agitation and distress.

So sad for the little bird to die. Sad for another little bird to lose its mate. They probably had a nest. I doubt that one lone parent can protect and feed it’s nestlings alone. But the small hawk had to kill to live itself and perhaps to provide for its young.

We like to idealize nature, but nature is often cruel. That’s hard for me to accept sometimes. Why did God create it that way? I know it wasn’t like that before The Fall, but I wonder how suffering in the animal kingdom relates to man’s need to learn and progress.

I also sometimes what will happen with animals of prey when the earth is perfected and everyone and all nature lives in peace. There are some animals whose mouths etc just don’t work for eating plants. Will a lion still be a lion when its mouth is able to graze? Will a hawk still be a hawk without that ferocious beak and talons? This will be interesting to see.

Worse than the cruelty in nature is the cruelty of people. Some people use the cruelty of nature to justify man’s cruelty to animals. That is wrong. What I hear and learn about cruelty to animals is distressing. Even more distressing is the sneaky suspicion that I hardly scratch the surface.

Doesn’t it seem like nearly every day there is some horrible happening in the news? Another child abused or missing. Another mass shooting. Another policeman killed.

I cannot place where and I want to “blame” Nephi, but it might not be him, but somewhere in the scriptures there is a verse in which the prophet laments the evils of his people and proclaims himself something like the most wretched of men because of their sins and the woes that will come to them. I think, oh, really and you think that makes you the most miserable of people? I don’t think so. What about the people who are actually being mistreated? Or even the wretches doing the mistreating – they have got to be miserable. However, I do somewhat understand. I feel great sadness and distress over the pains, sorrows and sins of the world – human and animal. I often wonder what am I supposed to DO about all this? Seems like there’s not much I CAN do.

I am profoundly grateful for my blessings and the good life I enjoy. I think that being grateful is part of what I am supposed to do.

I can try
to live more righteously
treat my family, friends, and, well, everyone, at least decently
be a responsible pet owner
pay my fast offering
donate the occasional mite to the SPCA or PETA or the National Wildlife Federation

I used to pray that the Lord would delay the 2nd Coming and give me more time to repent. Well, I have had DECADES. If I am not going to get my act together, well too bad for me. I now find myself praying for the end to come soon and put an end to all the cruelty and suffering in the world.

Of course He has His own time table and it’s right. Everything will be put right. Everyone who has innocently suffered will be comforted, healed and rewarded and will say it is good and just, that things ARE fair now. What a glorious day that will be!


  1. It was Nephi; 2 Ne 4:17 "Nevertheless, notwithstanding the great goodness of the Lord, in showing me his great and marvelous works, my heart exclaimeth: O wretched man that I am! Yea, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities."

    But he wasn't saying that he was "the most miserable of people" due to the things that others were doing. He was saying that he was wretched (meaning sorrowful, poor in spirit, in need of repentance), because he had been shown so much by the Lord yet he still felt weak and was "easily beset" by temptation. It really had nothing to do with anyone else's sins or the kind of cruelty and misery that you're talking about.

    That scripture makes me think, "If he, a prophet, felt that way, surely I am even more 'wretched'." But then I remember, "unto whom much is given much is required" and being a prophet, Nephi had been given so much knowledge and had so much more understanding than most of us.

    But back to what you were talking about... I have felt the same as you describe for awhile. I am so sick of hearing about the horrible things that happen in the world. Sometimes I can't handle hearing it anymore and I completely avoid the news or headlines. There is not much we can do, except for the kinds of things that you mentioned. :S

    I do think it will be interesting to see if/how the animals will change to adapt to their new natures. But then, won't it really be them going back to how they were originally created?

    Just my thoughts. :)

  2. Maybe it was 2 Ne 4:17 and my memory is slightly off, but I keep thinking there is one where he is miserable because of the people's sinful state. However I cannot find it.

    I sometimes wonder what in the world does the prophet have to repent of daily as I have been told he does - or as I remember an earlier prophet saying he did.

    Even though I am far from perfect, I don't always feel that I have sinned on a given day.

    I suppose the animals will be going back to the way they were meant to be and by then perhaps we will remember how they were perfectly shaped. Right now it seems a bit odd. Not something to be wasting a lot of time on when there are so many things we should ponder. But curious thoughts.