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The Venus Flower Basket - Symbol of Love

By John Edwards

One of the most beautiful of all the creatures that live in the oceans is the rare and very seldom seen Venus flower basket. It only grows on the ocean floor at depths of three thousand to five thousand feet, in the warm tropical waters of the South Pacific, mostly around the Philippines and Japan.

This creature is actually a sponge; however it does not look anything like the sponges you use for cleaning in your home. It is extremely beautiful, intricate, and dainty. When full grown the Venus flower basket is tube shaped and about twelve inches long, usually with some slight curvature.

It looks like it is made up of an intricate fine lace expertly spun in glass fibers no thicker than human hair. It is woven in the form of a hollow tube shaped like a rams horn. The smaller, tapered end is anchored to the ocean floor by a multitude of fine glass-like fibers. The larger end has a lacey looking cap over it.

Because it looks like it is woven from glass it is sometimes called a glass sponge. Its scientific name is Euplectella Aspergillum.

When the Venus flower basket is small, tiny shrimp swim in and out of it. However, as the Venus Flower Basket grows it seals off the open upper end, and at the same time the shrimps grow so that they cannot swim through the side of the Venus flower basket. As this happens, a pair of shrimps, one male and one female, will stay inside the Venus flower basket and become trapped there. This pair of shrimps will spend the rest of their lives inside that Venus flower basket.

To the Japanese this is a symbol of eternal love and being happily married forever. A Venus flower basket is sometimes given as a wedding present in Japan because of this beautiful symbolism.

There is no such thing as divorce for these shrimp couples.

With divorce gaining epidemic portions in some countries, can we learn a lesson from these shrimp? God, the creator of all of us as well as these little shrimps, did not intend, nor does he want, marriages to end in divorce.

If these shrimps have a problem, somehow they work it out. They share their living space, food, and everything else with each other. Likewise we need to learn to work out the problems in our marriage and make them work. Learning how to share better and more often is a good start.

Spencer W. Kimball, one of the great religious leaders of our time, said that all divorce is the result of selfishness by one or both marriage partners. Shouldn't we start being less selfish and start serving more in our marriage and family? As we serve and unselfishly give within our homes, our love for our spouse and children will increase, team cooperation will increase, and problems will start being solved in a spirit of love and mutual trust.


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