In my many years of biology classes, I heard over and over again “NATURAL SELECTION”!! This is also known as Survival of the Fittest. Every time I heard this, I automatically thought of like a boxing tournament between the animals.
*In wrestling announcer voice*
“Two go into the ring, but only one of them will come out! Who will be crowned the fittest?!”
*And the crowd goes wild*
It was ingrained in my head that if you weren’t the predator, you were the prey. Over and over again I heard this, thinking of how tough and cruel the animal kingdom was. Then, every once in a while, I would get told a slightly different version of the story. For about one class period a semester, the teacher would talk about something called “Symbiotic Relationships”.
Not every single creature is pitted against every other creature, some of them work together. The term symbiotic relationship simply means “living” and “with”, so it includes all relationships where two different creatures live together, but most often the term is used for MUTUALISTIC symbiotic relationships. These partnerships have two creatures that both benefit from the two living together. These relationships are seen all over the animal kingdom. Some examples are:
Clown Fish and Sea Anemone
Although sea anemones’ tentacles can sting you, the clownfish are protected by a substance they secrete. They then are able to use the anemone as shelter and protection from predators. The clownfish then provides the anemone nutrients in the form of waste and in the form of attracting other fish for the anemone to eat. (They didn’t tell you all of that in Finding Nemo)
Capuchin Monkeys and Flowering Trees
Lots of creatures are pollinators, like bees and bats, but one I hadn’t heard of was the Capuchin monkey in the rainforest. The monkey will eat the flowers, getting food, but the pollen gets all over his face and hands. Then when he travels across the trees, he helps the flowers by spreading the pollen to other flowers, pollinating them as he goes.
Humans and Bacteria
I’ve talked before about how some bacteria can hurt us, but SOME bacteria are living among us, in our gut! They live in our digestive tract and help us to digest our food, regulating the environment. While they are in there helping us out, they take a little bit of our food for themselves. This way they get fed and they don’t have to travel too far for their meals.
Thinking of all of these examples of animals living in peace and harmony with one another, got me thinking of a Psalm from a few weeks ago.
“The Lord speaks of peace to his people… Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall spring out of the earth, and justice shall look down from heaven.”
- Psalm 85: 8, 10-11
These few verses paint a beautiful picture to me. Peace, this good thing, is a gift from heaven. It is God who speaks of it. He knows that His people will fail and make mistakes, hurting one another, but He tells us of how wonderful living in peace can be. There will be justice, the ultimate truth is here, and all of this will come from kindness. This perfect idea of peace and harmony may have come from heaven, but the verse says “Truth shall spring out of the earth”. That means that it can come from us. It SHOULD come from us.
I am writing this blog on Monday, so I have no idea what is going on in the world by the time you read this on Wednesday, but I do know that this week will be difficult for our country no matter what the results of the election are. There are millions of people who feel very strongly one way or another, and a large portion of them will be disappointed by the results. I am predicting that whatever is happening in the world when you’re reading this, it’s not peaceful.
This is heartbreaking, but it is a call for us Christians to bring peace. This is the time where each of us MUST act in kindness. It doesn’t matter if you are not a fan of the people who won the elections. It doesn’t matter if other people are saying cruel things to you based on who you voted for. What matters is how you react, and your actions must be based in kindness. All of us are built to live symbiotically with our neighbors. We need each of them and they need each of us. We benefit from them being around, and we need to act like that. Speaking kindness and peace shows this much more than spewing hate. I guarantee that no matter the results, our country will need more people to act in kindness. This country needs you right now. Others will benefit from a kind relationship with you. Be that person. Be the light in the darkness. I pray that we all listen to what our Lord says of peace, and that we manifest the truth of God’s love, letting it spring from each of his people on the earth.