Who am I describing?
As adults, they search for their partners for life and have children that they nurture, teach and provide for. The mothers are the primary caretaker of the children, while, usually, the men ‘bring home the bacon.”
Close friends and relatives form their primary social circle.
They’re blessed with the gift of language; allowing them to share ideas – and feelings. They cry, laugh, and have many expressions to demonstrate their myriad emotions. They understand the difference between good and evil.
In different areas of the world, they’ve created unique “languages,” particular to cultures and geography. They sing and share the same haunting, memorable musical songs that are part of their cultural literacy.
Who am I talking about?
Humpback whales. Veret monkeys. Human beings. Actually, quite a few animals on our pint-sized planet.
But most humans would say that there’s one thing we’ve got that no other species has.
We have souls.
Most folks on our planet believe God created the world for us.
If that’s the case, God created 200,000,000,000 solar systems like our Milky Way each with about 200,000,000,000 suns, 14 billion years ago just for us — on the planet Earth.
All other animals that have graced the earth, from the Cambrian Explosion 500 million years ago that spawned a planet full of new life forms – to the dinosaur’s era (that survived 100 times longer than we’ve been here) — were created just for us.
Most cultures would tell you we’re going to some version of heaven – where it’s much better than life on Earth. In this place we’ll be at peace. It’s God’s home. It’s well-worth the suffering we’ve had to put up with as humans on our flawed planet earth.
All the animals on our planet, on the other hand, will just die and return to dust. After all, they’re only here for us.
I don’t see it that way.
A humpback whale’s mortality will be defined by the difference it made in the world while here on earth. I’d bet the ranch a female humpback whale dies knowing she loved and cared for her life mate; her children and her friends – and feels good about that.
And, I believe, that humpback whale’s decisions reverberate for generations; in the actions of their children – and their children’s children. You could say the world, in a small way – will forever be in their image and likeness.
I’m more than good with that.
All I have to do is look in the eyes of my kids, and I’m looking at heaven.
Maybe I was some place before this, and since I was a good guy, this is heaven.
I’m going with that.