Penguin Patience

I belong to a group of local photographers and we get together at least once a month for a “photowalk” where we visit different points of interest and share our passion for great picture opportunities. Recently, we went to the Living Planet Aquarium to learn how to shoot better in low light with tons of reflections and subjects that have a tendency to not stay still. To make things even more interesting, the facility administrators randomly chose 4 individuals to go behind the scenes to shoot a different perspective.

I was lucky enough to pick one of the golden tickets.

Because we entered the enclosures through doors that normally meant food was coming, we got the animals’ attention right from the start. There was a lot of jockeying for position…except with the penguins. Like all good animal facilities, this aquarium had a safety catch room right outside the main door to the penguin enclosure. This secure room keeps animals contained in a specific area should they happen to escape when a keeper opens the exhibit door to feed or clean. We were in this safety room readying our cameras and waiting for the onslaught when the keeper opened the main exhibit door. The penguins moved toward the door expecting food, but unlike the others, they did it in an orderly manner. There was no pushing or shoving or attacking each other. They just came to the door, one by one, looked around and waited for a few minutes, then turned back to go inside again. They stood patiently in line and took turns coming to the doorway.

I wonder what it is in the penguins’ nature that gives them such an attribute. Whenever scientists have studied them, the act of taking turns is always evident, even in the bitter freezing harshness of Antarctica where not having a turn on the inside of the group could mean death. Somehow, the penguins know that their needs will be met, even as they stand on the outer edge of the colony taking the brunt of the cold. They appear to bear no ill will towards those that are benefiting the most at any given moment. The rotation is always in motion and penguin patience seems to be a constant.

Think about that for a minute….in human terms.

Our Heavenly Father knows us all intimately and certainly has the power to fulfill each and every one of our needs at once, but that is not the plan. How would we ever learn to trust Him?

No getting upset that our friends seem to be getting more than us even though we’ve worked our hardest and feel deserving of great things. No jealousy when someone else’s life is going so much better than ours (or so we think). We wouldn’t get mad at God when we aren’t getting what we prayed for and what we think we deserve. We would always trust that our needs, our real needs, will be met.

We would keep moving forward with faith.