Monday, November 30, 2015

His Eye is On the Turkey

Forty six million.

That, according to the statistics, is just how many turkeys we consumed last week in the United States.  There it is, the delicious roast beast set out for our gatherings, full of protein and tryptophan, and I wasn't partaking.

Instead, I noshed on tofurky, which is honestly not nearly half as good as the turkey I ate before I moved away from the omnivorous diet that's natural to higher primates and became a vegetarian.  It's...well... a little rubbery.  Although with enough stuffing and gravy, you can sort of get around that.

Sort of.

As I ate, I reflected on those forty six million lives.  Turkeys are not the pinnacle of organic sentience, I'll freely admit.  They are, in fact, rather remarkably far from that.

There's a peculiar trait all turkeys share, one that's generally cited as an indicator of their epic stupidity.  They'll stop what they're doing, and stare gape-mouthed at the sky, looking upwards towards the heavens for ten, twenty, thirty seconds.  Nothing interrupts this behavior, not rain, not anything.

Scientists, who note that the turkey is a social bird that is no more or less aware than other birds, have debunked this behavior as an indicator of stupidity.  It's an inherited defect, they argue, and they are probably right in the faintly drab way that science is right about the mechanics of things.

But here you have a creature that evolved to fly, and fly strongly, and it's been bred to be a meat machine.  They are pinned to the earth by the tumescent inbred flesh that dooms them to our tables.  They look to the sky, lost in it, in the freedom they once had but now do not.

And here you have a creature, part of the great complex work of God, now with a life bent and warped to serve our hunger.  It looks upward, an avian Job with face turned to the heavens, out to the vastness of blue and the stars beyond, away from the flesh factories in which it is doomed to live a short and joyless life.

Its eyes are on the heavens.  And God?  The God I profess, that resides in and beyond the fullness of being?  My Teacher tells me his Father knows the lilies of the field, and counts the feathers of the sparrow.  Just as the turkey stares without worldly hope into the endless fastness, so too does the Creator look back.

I am more than a turkey, my Teacher reminds me, in my symbol wielding social mammal complexity.

"But how much more?" I want to ask.  Is it measured by weight?  Measured by lifespan?  Is it measured by the relative volume of neurons?  Dare I ask that, in my mortal smallness?

How much suffering of simple weaker creatures can I justify, to the terrible, fiery God of Love that knows them as fully as God knows my own soul?

His eye is on me, after all.