I Met God at the Philadelphia Zoo

I’ve been away from the blog for a bit….there are some things in my life I’m not ready to blog about…yet.  But don’t worry – all things will become clear very soon!

In the meantime, Hubbie and I had a chance to go to the Philadelphia Zoo.  We hadn’t been there in about 10 years, so we figured it was time.  The weather was spectacular and it seemed like a wonderful time to wander in a beautiful setting and enjoy some time together.   Just the two of us.  And thousands of other people.  And some animals.

You may remember I have a new camera I’m trying to learn to use, and the zoo seemed a great place to experiment with it.  So please humor me as I show you a few of my favorite pics from the day.  Like this one:

tortoise 1

Tortoise Close Up!

Now here’s a face only a mother could love – a mother tortoise, that is. Somehow, when you get up close, you see more of the personality and less of “just a slow lumbering animal.”

We learned a group of tortoises is called a “CREEP.”  How appropriate!  Well, the zoo has a nice area where the tortoises roam free and do whatever their tortoise hearts desire – swim in the pond, creep across the yard,  eat, you name it.

zoo tortoise2

Tortoise Licking up a Leaf

Did you ever wonder how a tortoise eats?  I mean have you really studied it?  We watched the tortoises ripping up grass, but I never thought about how they pick up the small bits of grass since they don’t have lips like ours.  And then we say this guy…. sticking out his tongue to pick a leaf out of the mulch.  Who new???

zoo giraffe5

Giraffes

Then it was on to the “tower” of giraffes – always a favorite of mine.  We stayed a while, watching their leg joints “snap” into place with each step, and then seeing them reach awkwardly down to eat some grass.

zoo giraffe1

Giraffe Stretcchhhhhing for Food

Have you ever seen giraffe eyelashes?  They’re quite remarkable – check out those uppers!

zoo giraffe2

Giraffe Eyelashes

zoo gibbon2

Mother and Baby Gibbon

This little Gibbon baby and his mom were just too cute.  This is the one time he was visible – the rest of the time Mom was swinging on the jungle gym with the baby clinging to her stomach.

zoo monkeys

Do You Know What Kind of Monkey This Is? I Don’t….

I never figured out what kind of monkey these are, but I love their expression! We had quite a time watching this guy who’s aptly named a Silverback Gorilla.   He watched us for a while, all macho-like, then ripped up a big hunk of sod in his hand and threw it at us as he charged us.

Silverback Gorilla

Silverback Gorilla

 

He did have a softer more pensive side, though….zoo silverback gorilla5

zoo penguins

Humboldt Penguins

The penguins are another favorite of mine.   Just wait until the zoo keeper hints feeding time is near, and all their heads  immediately snap over in his direction!

You probably don’t want to go to the zoo with me, because I’ll totally ignore you (just ask Hubbie – fortunately he didn’t mind, because I was so enjoying the camera he gave me).

I LOVE being at the zoo and watching the animals – all the different kinds of animals, each so different from the other.  Some very beautiful, some not – but each amazing in its own way.  I get transfixed, and it makes me forget the other things pulling for my attention – all the deadlines, problems and uncertainties in life that can hang like a dark cloud over me.  When I’m at the zoo, I am just amazed at what I see.

flowers As I planted flowers at my house the next day, I thought about how much I enjoyed flowers too.  I’m not particularly good at growing plants, and I rely heavily on Miracle Grow to prevent plant disasters.   I realized I got that same feeling from digging in the dirt, looking at the delicate roots and various flowers of my new baby plants, and then sticking them in their new homes on my deck.

I think I figured out why I love hanging out with animals and flowers. They’re all part of God’s creation, aren’t they?  That’s obvious, but that’s not all.

In Genesis 1,we read about God creating the plants and animals and placing them in the Garden of Eden – for us.  Eden was to be our home, where we would live with God and enjoy His creation.  Can you imagine that?  It blows my mind, really, to think that God would ever want to hang out in person anywhere with me – ME. But that’s what the Bible tells us.  God made the garden, and He made it all very good –  a beautiful home for us to be with Him. Can  you imagine hanging out with God, learning from Him all the intricacies of all He created, and why He made each one as He did?  (I personally want to know why God made scorpions….)  It’s kind of like having a personal tour of the Sistine Chapel with Michelangelo – only on a much grander scale.

Well, you probably know that Adam and Eve messed everything up – for themselves, and for you and me.  They sinned, and that was the end of living with God in the garden.

And today, society tells us God is dead, God started things going and then left it all alone, God doesn’t care, God is angry at us, God just wants to punish us, etc.

But it’s all wrong.

Because when I read the Bible, I see something very different.  I see a God who created a beautiful place for me to be with Him – and that means God WANTS to be with me.  And after Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t leave mankind totally alone in the world with no “tour guide.”  Because God still wants to be with us.  God’s desire to reach out to us didn’t end – it was just complicated by our sin marring the relationship.

And in this broken world, He gave us bits and pieces of His creation – clues as to what He originally intended, places where, if we will just slow down and stop, we can see Him in nature and catch our breath to realize that….yes….God IS there, revealing Himself and His creation to us. It never ended – God still wants to have relationship with us.  And so even though we live in a far from perfect world, God is still there, showing us His creation as He’s done since the beginning, revealing His glory.

And when I see it, I am amazed…..

That explains my zoo trip.  I met God at the Philadelphia zoo that day.  God showed me His creation…and I watched in awe.  And took some photos to help me remember my special time with God!

Well, you may not care for the zoo like I do.

You may not be impressed by my animal photos.

But you know what?  Everyone has their own part of creation that speaks to them.  That makes them forget time, worries and cares.  That makes them stop and go “Wow – God, this is AWESOME.”

There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.     – John Calvin

YOU have one of those special places too, where – whether you realize it or not – God is waiting to meet you, to delight in showing you what He has made, and in doing so, telling you about Himself.

Where is your place?  Perhaps for you it’s a waterfall, a field of flowers, the ocean waves, a forest, or a beautiful sunset.

My friend, Murgendra Mehta, meets God in His creation as well, and captures the beauty in wonderful photos (his make mine look like child’s play).  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mrugendra taking pictures at a zoo (as soon as he reads this, I’ll probably get a call to tell me he HAS taken pictures at a zoo).  But put him in an area with nature or waterfalls, and he takes tremendous shots – ready reminders of God’s creation when we can’t be in nature ouselves.  Here are some of my favorites – you can click on the photo to link back to his webpage to see which are YOUR favorites.  (If you like, you can also purchase his work on the website).   I LOVE it when God shows me His creation.  The presence of God makes me forget everything else.  Deep inside of me, God has placed a desire to enjoy His beauty and reflect on my Creator.  It’s what He always intended – that I would enjoy the beauty that He made for me.  Too often, I get caught up and miss out on the wonder of God’s creation.  But I’m convinced my world would be much better if I would intentionally make time every day to enjoy creation, where God delights in showing off for me.

The Bible tells us that one day God WILL make all things new – restoring creation to the original beauty He made for us.  And I will be in God’s presence.  It will be perfect – just like God intended it all to be.

Today we just have the preview – a dim view of what God intends.  It can be easy to miss.  I need to stop and look.  But it’s there.

I met God at the Philadelphia Zoo.  How about you – where do you meet with God and marvel in His creation?   What makes you stop….captures your mind….makes you forget all else by God and His wonder?    I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments….

  • Amy L. Stacy

    Love reading your blog dear Diana! God has gifted you with the ability to communicate His amazing love. Keep it up!! The animal pictures are GREAT :)

    • http://DianaGleaton.com/ Diana Gleaton

      Thanks Amy – glad you enjoyed, I appreciate the feedback!. :-)

  • Pamela Pillmore

    Beautifully said and photographed! I also love all the animals in God’s creation. Just finished teaching Genesis 1-11 and it was awesome.

    • http://DianaGleaton.com/ Diana Gleaton

      Thanks Pam! Would love to have been in your Genesis study :-)

  • Ceil

    Hi Diana! Looks like you are really getting the hang of that new camera! Those tortoise shots are amazing! I really like giraffes too. My fav part of them are their tongues. They look so purple!
    I do really see God’s care and creation in nature. It speaks to me, and I remember the creation story. ‘and God said that it was good..’ Oh yes it is!
    Nice to see you again :)
    Ceil