By Charity Emmanuel
The most beautiful thing I have ever seen is a picture—a picture of a wolf bottle-feeding an orphaned lamb. The wolf has a full bottle of milk stuck to its semi-open mouth, with the nipple part in the mouth of the innocent hungry-looking lamb. As unbelievable as it is, this picture has left an indelible imprint of beauty in my heart. I believe the picture and the story it told; the friendship of two conflicting natures, the unusual and unexpected.
I see beauty in the eyes of the wolf, in the teary kindness deeply rooted in the calmness of its demeanour, as it sits peacefully next to what should have been prey. I see the teary kindness in the careful way the wolf places the milk bottle in the lamb's mouth, ensuring that every drop satisfies the lamb's hunger pangs. I see beauty in the lamb, too, barely fully weaned and full of innocence, as it sucks gratefully from the bottle, not considering the wolf unworthy or evil.
In the words of Mother Theresa, we ought to give till it hurts--and with a smile. This picture portrays that rare kind of giving beyond the ordinary. I see beauty in the giving of the wolf without playing on the gullibility and helplessness of the lamb. In the trust given by the lamb without suspicion of the carnivorousness of the wolf. In the reception of the gifts offered by both– of hospitality and trust. Indeed, they gave till it unavoidably hurt, and they did with a child's heart.
I have been fascinated by the beauty of she-goats breastfeeding their kids, dogs breastfeeding their puppies, hens relentlessly scratching out crumbs of food from the earth for their chickens, pigs breastfeeding piglets, and birds protecting their eggs; with great love. I now see that they are only protecting their own; because of similarities shared and the continuity of their kinds. But the height of beauty sometimes goes beyond fascinating everyday sights. Such is the beauty of the extraordinariness of this enchanting picture- of a wolf and a lamb.
I have seen the beauty of this picture in different shades– peace, love, tolerance, unity, and progress. I have seen shades of the image in many ways, in open doors ready to give shelter and warmth to the drenched and worn out. In the friendships of Christians and Muslims, in the peaceful cohabitation of people from different ethnicities and backgrounds. In outstretched hands that give to the poor; and in the heartfelt reconciliatory smiles that melt deep hatred. In ears that genuinely listen to other people's cares, I have seen it in shoulders offered for others to lean on. Though; very rare and unusual, they are reflections of the beauty of this picture– a beauty that supersedes convenience and normalcy, the kind –that I am living and seeking in our world.
Charity Emmanuel is a graduate of English from the University Of Ilorin. She is a Creative Writer, Blogger and occasionally dabbles in writing poems. Her work, "A Stride Into a Faint Hope," was published in Kreative Diadem's anthology in 2019. She is passionate about promoting gender equality, and her articles reflect that theme. She recently started her blog, Social Balance Dome, where she writes on cultural patterns that hinder women's emancipation and how cultural and political ideologies can be re-conceived so that women can be identified as equal members of society.
She plans to advance her writing skills and education, grow her blog audience and undertake advocacy projects that will practically equip African women in their career paths.