A PLEA FOR SANITY

Sep 18th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

The Story of Owen and Mzee

Six years ago, through the cataclysmic tsunami and magic of nature, a baby hippo convinced a centerian giant tortoise that they were related.  The tortoise (Mzee)  reluctantly agreed to adopt Owen and became his mother, ultimately with all the nurturing and protections mothers have to offer their offspring.  Owen became equally protective, hissing off people who approached Mzee.  Owen was just a baby and Mzee is estimated to be between 100 and 130 years old. We senior citizens can learn some lessons from these animal kingdom creatures.

Although now seven years later Owen and Mzee are no longer living together, they remained a team for several years… until Owen approached the age of majority and began acting like a real hippo.  The point of the original story should be lost on no one:  “Look beyond the differences and find a way to walk the path together.”  It works.  Owen and Mzee’s story is true.  Seniors everywhere undertand.

The Moral of the Story

It appears to us that we can learn a few things from these two creatures:

  • If a baby hippo and an elderly giant tortoise can live together in harmony, mutual protection and affection, disregarding  their major and minor differences, what in God’s name is the matter with us humans?
  • If Owen and Mzee can figure out what is important in life, what’s getting in the way of us humans figuring this out?
  • If Owen and Mzee can ignore their rather major differences, why do we humans focus our belief systems on differences?
  • If Mzee helped Owen grow to adulthood in a healthy and protective environment, how is it we humans can’t figure out how to do the same?

Here’s the simple moral of the story:

  • People choose harmony or disharmony.
  • People choose what is important in their lives… material things or relationships.
  • People choose to love differences between and among peoples, or to hate them.
  • People choose loving or hateful behavior toward others.
  • People choose to listen to others without pre-determined conclusions, or to shut them out because they have all the right answers even ahead of the questions.

The choices we make are a reflection of our beliefs and our lives.  You cannot claim to be a Christian/Muslim/Jew/Hindi/or any other major religion, and act in hateful ways.  Your actions belie your words, and there won’t be a Mzee in your life to help you through the difficult times if you are a fraud.

Remember, Owen and Mzee’s story is true.

 



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