Oct 29 2012
As Fluffy and I were driving to the temple last week, we passed one of those roadway memorial signs that are erected by grieving friends and relatives of people who died in a car crash at a particular location. This memorial was a new one — so new that the yellow flowers were still alive and the wording on the sign was still legible. This is what the sign said:
Deer. October 23, 2012”
In all my years of reading roadside memorial signs, this was the first one I had ever seen that was dedicated to roadkill. I thought that was a great idea, and I smiled about it for the rest of the night.
This stranger’s concern for the deer was in stark contrast to a YouTube video that has gone viral in recent weeks. It featured a clueless caller to a Fargo radio station, Donna, who had hit three deer with her car in the previous two years, and all three accidents occurred shortly after she had passed a deer crossing sign.
Donna was incensed that the highway department was putting those signs in high-traffic areas, telling deer to cross the road in those dangerous places. Some of them were even on interstate highways, where traffic moves at 65 miles per hour! She wanted the signs moved to places where drivers were already going slowly. In fact, she suggested that the signs be moved to school crossings, where drivers were already slowing down, so the deer and the children could both cross the road safely.
Nothing the deejays said could make Donna understand that the signs weren’t put there to tell the deer where to cross, but that they were put there to tell the drivers where the deer were already crossing. This concept was way, way beyond her ability to comprehend. No, she realized that the deer sometimes needed to cross a road, but she believed that they should be considerate enough to do it in places that were more convenient for the drivers. After all, the drivers needed to get where they needed to go.
Donna reminded me of a sweet, grandfatherly man who used to work at the temple, and who routinely sat in his backyard with a gun to take out the bunnies who dared hop onto his property and nibble the grass and the vegetables in his garden. Fluffy and I referred to him as Bunny Killer. Whenever we heard about his latest kill, all we could think was, “The bunnies were there first!”
Like Donna and the grandfatherly temple worker, we human beings sometimes think of this as our world. This is our planet to use as we see fit. If nature gets in our way, nature has to go. And if we’re finished with a candy bar wrapper or an aluminum can or a fast food sack, we can throw it out the window and forget it ever existed.
What we may forget is that we are not owners of this earth; we are stewards of this earth. We are only caring for the earth in the absence of the Owner, but, like the stewards of the ten talents, we will be held accountable for our actions.
The next time we think of nature as an inconvenience, we need to remember Whose world this is. Psalm 24:1 tells us:
The earth is the LORD’S, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.”
Not only do the deer and the bunnies and the trees belong to God; we, too, belong to Him. What am I doing to take good care of the body that He has entrusted me with? What are you doing? And how are we taking care of His planet? It’s food for thought.