Wednesday, May 26, 2010

An Elephant Never...

I hope you don’t get offended if I call you an elephant.

You see, at a recent Bible study, we were encouraged to let others into our lives, to trust in and lean on each other. This isn’t really an uncommon exhortation at a Bible study, and one I’ve learned to shrug off along with other advice that I feel doesn’t “apply” to me, such as color coordinating your laundry hampers, and planting flowers in your front yard to spruce it up.

However, this particular speaker got around my shrugging shoulders, by using an analogy I’ll never forget (Ha! Elephant joke...).

Elephants are some of the most family oriented mammals, along with humans and primates. They stick together. Not just out of necessity. Out of affection. Out of a desire, even a need, for companionship.

The speaker told us that there have been proven cases that when an elephant has been wounded or incapacitated, unable to walk, to keep up with the herd, the herd will slow down or even stop altogether to ensure that she can stay with them. Not only that, if she falls and cannot get up, the other family members will come beside her, lift her up, and hold her up until she can walk again. In essence, saving her life, because the weight of a wounded elephant will keep her from getting back up again if she falls.


I wonder if that injured elephant wished they would just leave her to die. I wonder if there were times when she was so hurt, so weary, so miserable, that she would have rather they just left her in the dust, to fret and mourn. I wonder if she lashed out at her sisters, her friends, trying to shove their shoulders away from her, screaming at them, hating them for forcing her to be strong.

I wonder if she ever told them thank you.

If you have ever been one of my elephants, and you know who you are, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. If it were not for you, I wouldn’t - couldn’t - have gotten back up. All the numerous times I have fallen in the dust, wounded, weary, unable to keep myself moving, you have been there for me. You’ve forced me up. You’ve wrapped your arms around me, stood with me, shoulder to shoulder, and never let me collapse back into that dusty heap. Even when I tried to shove you away, when I lashed out at you with words that I didn’t mean, you stayed.

Thank you for staying.

I love you, my elephant.