Sunday, October 14, 2012


If your family is anything like mine, you have learned more than you ever thought you would about the eating habits of giraffes.

Autumn, the Greenville Zoo’s female giraffe, is pregnant and due any day now, and thanks to a webcam, we can observe Autumn 24 hours a day. My kids love Autumn. My daughter has instructed me that if I see Autumn starting to deliver her baby during the school day, I am to call the school and get a message to her class immediately.
In the meantime, Autumn eats. And stands in her stall. And eats. And eats. And stands. And eats.

It’s oddly compelling. We’re waiting for Autumn to deliver a baby giraffe into the world.  But to look at her, you’d hardly know she was pregnant. But we wait. And we watch.

It’s strange how invested we can become in the life of a giraffe. But it’s not just our family. My wife chats about the giraffe-cam with coworkers. A recent report indicated that some 200,000 viewers across the world have tuned in to the webcam. There’s just something about Autumn.

Meanwhile, it is autumn. The days are cooling, the leaves are dropping, and you can get just about anything in a pumpkin spice flavor. My kids complain that it’s too cold, but I love it. I can’t wait to put on sweaters and jackets and have even more of an excuse to drink hot coffee all day long.

But not yet. It’s not really cold enough for scarves. And the leaves aren’t really pretty enough to justify a drive to the mountains. And Autumn the giraffe is still just eating.

So we wait. We wait for the change of season to really kick in. We wait for the leaves to turn those glorious colors. We wait for the baby giraffe to arrive. We wait. And we wait. And we wait.

When you think about it, don’t we spend an awful lot of our lives waiting? We’re forever waiting for things to turn around, waiting for the right person to come along, waiting for a sign. From God. Am I doing the right thing? Have I made the right choice? Am I doing what God wants me to do? When will I know?

The waiting is the hardest part.

Whether it’s waiting for a new baby to arrive or waiting for the weather to change, the waiting is hard.

But we can still enjoy it. For every day is a gift. Every meal is a gift. Every pumpkin spice latte, every zoo webcam, every single leaf that falls onto my lawn and has to be raked. They’re all gifts, whether we recognize them or not.

So today, choose to recognize the gifts. The simple, tiny everyday gifts. A smile from a friend. A sweater that you bought on sale last year. A leaf that, yes, has to be raked and isn’t even a deep pretty red color yet, but is, by itself, an ancient symbol of happiness and a reminder of the miracle that is life on this planet.

We are surrounded, every day, every minute, with abundant reminders of the preciousness of life and the uncountable gifts with which God has blessed us.

So recognize them. Thank God for them.

We are all busy and we are all distracted and we are all waiting for the next big thing – whether it’s a new job or a baby giraffe. 

We’re all waiting. So why not try our best to enjoy the wait.

Thank you, God.

1 comment:

Marisa Birns said...

This is such a beautiful post, Neil. Yes, I too am watching Autumn on webcam, sent there by one of your tweets.

It's cloudy in D.C. but the grey puffiness reminds me of soft cotton balls, and the rain that's sure to come will help with any drought conditions this area might have.

Yes, it's a perfect day to be grateful.

Thank you :)