Thursday, August 25, 2011

Neither jelly nor fish

Did you know that spanish moss is neither spanish...nor moss? Similarly jellyfish are neither jelly...nor fish?

Both of these misnamed life forms proliferate in Hilton Head. One to our delight; one to our dismay. As we biked yesterday, Asherel noted,"The spanish moss is so beautiful."
This was not her response to the jellyfish some painful hours later.
I poured meat tenderizer over her jellyfish sting, and a few minutes later over Arvo's jellyfish sting.

Nontheless, I had noticed on an earlier bikeride how beautiful the jellyfish are too, splayed like saran wrap filled with designs on the seashore. Yet they are a trecherous beauty, as my unfortunate family discovered.

Meanwhile, Spanish moss is beauty without treachery, but many people think it kills the tree it grows on. Spanish moss is not like kudzu, however. The tree and moss, that is not moss, grow symbiotically together with no harm to the other.

Spanish moss have developed a unique way of eating. As water drips from the tree limbs and leaves, the spanish moss processes the minerals from the water, and eats that. It survives with a gentle, harmonious, peaceful mode of digestion.

On the other hand, we saw what jellyfish do to survive on our evening bike ride. The beach was littered with jellyfish, perhaps blown in by the approaching hurricane. I saw silver glinting off of one, and biked near to peer more closely. Inside the transparent blob was a small fish. I think it may have still been alive. Jellyfish are carnivores. They sting their prey with those gruesome tentacles, and then draw the paralyzed victim into their mouth and inside their open viewing digestive system. We biked a little further and saw another jellyfish with a fish inside it. It was like a snow globe of the beach...I had an image of shaking it and watching the fish swirl in its jelly tomb.

In the Bible, names are carefully chosen, and even sometimes changed to reflect the character that God wants to be revealed. I love the name change of Abraham's wife. She was Sarai, when he married her. Many Hebrew scholars feel the name change, derived from the same root, makes no sense. But, God always makes sense,if not now, in the future. I found one explanation compelling. The childless and barren Sarai, was renamed Sarah when God promised her she would bear Isaac, who would become the father of all nations. Sarai means "my princess", more personal and intimate than Sarah, which means "THE leader or princess." It is a distinction that prophesies the unique role of Sarah as the mother of the son who would become the progenitor of many nations.

But, like spanish moss and jellyfish, there is one notably "misnamed" Bible character. Lucifer, means "angel of light." Any one who knows the story is aware that Lucifer is no angel of light. However, Satan means adversary, derived from the hebrew noun which translates to obstructor. That sounds more appropriate. And as I thought about the fish in the jellyfish, I realized that is probably very much what hell is like. You are trapped forever in a place you can never escape, being slowly consumed in a hideous way, but you can still see the world around you, the one you have lost, the beautiful creation moments ago you were swimming in and took for granted.

"Don't you ever just nap on the beach?" My cousin asked me.
How could anyone nap when God is begging me to keep my eyes peeled for His revelations?

Genesis 17:15-17 NIV

God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her." Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?"

1 Timothy 1:15 NIV

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
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  1. What interesting insight on naming! I hope your daughter's jellyfish sting is feeling better - my family always used either oatmeal or meat tenderizer on bites and stings, too.

  2. Thanks Amy ! Meat tenderizer takes care of it quickly and it seems fine now