Monday, June 09, 2008


Today I heard most of a report on NPR about how cows in India have been mysteriously dying in unexpectedly large numbers.

These are cows living in the big cities, and because they are considered sacred, they are allowed to roam wherever they wish, apparently. Which means they eat what they wish as they roam.

It's very sad. It has been discovered, via autopsies, that these cows have plastic bags inside them. One had between 50 and 60 plastic bags in its digestive system. And this, understandably, kills a creature whose system was never designed to eat plastic.

Of course the cows don't set out to eat plastic. They find food, but too often it is wrapped in plastic, and it all goes in. They don't know that the plastic will kill them.

Bear with me while I make a leap. As I was listening to this odd report, I thought of John Michael Talbot talking about knowing Janice Joplin. And how, to him, she seemed like a kind woman who was desperately hungry for love. So she looked for love everywhere, and she would sleep with anyone for whatever love she might get (or think she was getting) from the person.

And she wound up dying from all the artificial "love" she got, and the lifestyle and the despair it led her to.

And I think how all of us are hungry--for love, for respect, for friendship, for meaning, I would say ultimately we are hungry for God, whether we know that or not--and we so often wind up swallowing things we were never meant to eat. And they kill us, or make us very sick.

It isn't just cows in India that get plastic poisoning. We all have a tendency to take in a lot of artificial "food" in our attempt to find real sustenance. Or maybe we even settle for the fake stuff and give up trying to find the real stuff. I know I have. I hesitate to even write about this, because I don't know if I have the authenticity to talk about it.

But I have the desire to not be artificial, and to not settle for artificial. And that's at least a starting place.

(And I would encourage everyone to stop using plastic bags! They have great reusable bags available now. Let's use them, and see if we might eventually stop this craziness of plastic bags floating all over the place!)


Molly Underwood said...
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Lucy said...

I think you have the authenticity.

Thank you for a thought provoking post.