Chapter Eight: Elephant
“Elephant was always with me. He would wake me up in the morning with a gentle friendly smile. I always felt that he loved me. Not like Mother or Father but like a dear friend who really cared what happened to me. He was so gentle and he always understood me. And he helped me to know how to be here at home and also at school. And he helped me understand that I had to leave, that I had to leave school and that I had to leave home. He helped me understand that Mother and Father and my teacher, although they did care for me, just wanted me to live in a very limited way, and really didn’t want me to change and to grow and to fully become who I am. I always felt that Mother and Father and the teacher all just wanted me to remain a little obedient boy who would do everything they told me to do even if those things had nothing to do with who I am.”
“Yes! Yes! Tell me more!”
“Elephant was extremely kind but also very very strong. He knew I needed to be me just like he needed to be an elephant. He told me that elephants have very special talents that no other animal has, not even people, and that it was important for him to learn how to use those talents and to practice them. Because no one else in the world could do it, so that it was his responsibility to develop and use and get to know the talents that were specifically his. That was the job he was given in this world and that each person also has very special talents and qualities that no one else has, and that the only way someone can know this is to discover them for himself. If a person has qualities that no one else has then how could anyone else teach him about them? The only way for him to know them is to go on a journey of discovery and to find them for himself. Elephant taught me that a person is like a treasure hunt and that we may not know where the treasure is hidden but that we have to search for it until we find it and then the treasure itself will help us to know how it is to be used.”
“This is the problem I had at home and also at school. People there just wanted me to be like everyone else and to act like everyone else and to do the things that everyone does. But if I did that I would never really get to know myself, I would always see myself only in comparison to everyone else and I would never really get to know my own presence. Elephant taught me that presence is essential and that it is one of the greatest gifts that we have, one of the greatest gifts that any being has. Every animal knows naturally how to be present, but only people learn to hold back their presence and learn not to trust it.”
“Yes! Yes! I knew it! I knew it!” Cornelia was overpowered with joy. She felt like she had been waiting all her life to hear these things.
“But there are other things that Elephant taught me and not only Elephant but the real teachers that I have had. We are never alone. We are full of alivenesses of all kinds on the inside. All of life fills us and advises us if we are willing to listen to it and to talk to it. And the aliveness in us calls the aliveness around us, that is how Grandfather knew to come get me and to take me to the place where I could really learn and grow.”
“Your Grandfather came to get you???”
“Not Father’s father or Mother’s father but a wise man who is Grandfather to many people and who also became Grandfather to me. He heard me cry out for a real teacher even though I didn’t know that’s what I was doing and so he came for me.”
“I knew it! I knew it! cried Cornelia. That’s why you have come for me!”
David was startled to hear this. He knew he had felt pulled to come back to this little house where he had first lived but now he was beginning to understand why the pull had been so strong.