So, I know I'm a little late to be making a comment about the movie March of the Penguins (okay, let's be real....six years late), but I watched the acclaimed movie last night with dear fiance and his roommate. I had heard tons of hype after the movie came out about how it was a beautiful story and had a powerful message, so my hopes and expectations were pretty high as we started to watch. I have to say I was NOT disappointed.
On the surface, it depicts the nature and beauty of Antarctica in a way that isn't often seen. But the study of the annual march of the Emperor Penguin was exquisite. From the choosing of a mate, to the passing of the egg from Mother to Father and the protection of said egg through the harshest of storms and conditions, the story of survival is inspiring. Mother Penguin goes nearly three months without any food while she carries her egg, and loses the majority of her body weight simply by sustaining the egg. Once laid, the Mother must skillfully, carefully, and lovingly pass the egg to Father Penguin, who will serve as Protector of the egg for the next four months. One tiny slip in this delicate pass will expose the egg to the elements and kill it instantly. After a successful transfer, Mother Penguin begins the 70 mile journey to the sea to find enough food for herself and the Baby Penguin, who will be born in her absense. Meanwhile, Father Penguin must now begin his four month fast as he carries the egg underneath him as it grows to the point of birth.
I found the life of these penguins to be completely awe-inspiring. The way the Mother and Father bond together to protect their young, depriving themselves of rest, food, and comfort to care for their offspring is simply amazing. The routine and understanding between the Penguin families as they each take on their specific role to nurture each other is so natural and perfect. Mother and Father are there to serve each other and to protect their young family. If either one was concerned with their own well being and neglected their role, the family would simply not survive. It is in serving each other and taking their specific role seriously that they thrive. What a beautiful and true sentiment!
As a culture we are so fully concerned with our own needs and desires that it seems un-natural to serve someone else first. Yet isn't that how God designed us? In relationships and marriage specifically, I believe that it is in serving one another that your own needs are met. No one had to teach these penguins that serving each other would lead to survival...it was their instinct. How much more content would we be if we adapted this same idea in our own lives, and made the needs of our husband or wife more important than our own? It seems to me this act of selflessness would lead to a greater joy, completion, and fulfillment than we could ever hope to have by being so concerned with "self."