I don’t think I will ever forget the title… “An Elephant in the Living Room”- The children’s Book. An Elephant in the Living Room is a prevention book, I and my colleagues at the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council, use to use as counselors in the schools [and home]. Please don’t confuse this with the recent movie of the same name. The focus of the book is not to pay attention to animals, but rather, to focus on children and families around big, often hurtful, unavoidable, and unspeakable issues, problems, and messages in their homes.
“Elephant in the room” is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is being ignored or goes unaddressed. The idiomatic expression also applies to an obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
It is based on the idea that an elephant in a room would be impossible to overlook; thus, people in the room who pretend the elephant is not there have chosen to avoid dealing with the looming big issue.
Although the book is “An illustrated story to help children understand and cope with the problem of alcoholism or other drug addiction in the family” [wikipedia], I believe this story and message, like everything, crosses spiritual lines. When I look back now, with perspective, at the elephants in my living room, I can see that Someone even bigger, was in charge and in care of us. Nothing escaped His knowing, no matter the size, degree or topic of discussion [or lack there of].
Once upon a time… I found an elephant in my living room. It was Big! And so it seems, this elephant follows me wherever I go. One day it’s there and then it’s gone. When I look again, I can’t miss it, standing right there… in my living room. Oh my God, how am I to take this elephant… out of my house?
I am reminded… of the elephants that were, the BIG that’s coming, and the elephants that are now…
The elephant that was…
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Dear God, please… bless Mommy and Daddy, my sisters, my grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, and, and… AND, Dear God, PLEASE… make Mommy stop drinking. I promise I’ll be Good, Better, Perfect.
THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU! AMEN!” [https://nnyphishnet.net/2011/02/26/dear-god-please/]
The Big that’s coming…
As I sat in a sanctuary of my peers recently, with our common goal to embark on a quest for the TRUTH [“The Truth Project”], it became quite clear to me again… that it is not about us, it is all about HIM. HE is TRUTH, the only WAY, to true LIFE, everlasting. The question… “Do you really believe what you believe is really real?” This is really BIG and I can’t hide it!
‘It is HE, the Holy Spirit of Truth, that searches the heart, and knows the mind of the spirit.’ [Romans 8:27] If we can handle the Truth… Jesus is ‘for all those who love God, those called according to His purpose’. And as far as I am concerned, it is with His Truth that God causes all things to work together for good, and that makes it right. And if I don’t ‘really believe what I believe is really real’… then I “can’t handle the Truth” and I ought not to expect anything. If I am swept here and there, to this and that, where is my faith; in what do I commit; who do I worship? The mirror, then, would have two faces. I cannot allow myself to get side-tracked by any other word, or commentary, contrary to the obvious truth. HE is BIG and I can’t hide HIM! And I do pray with all my heart, soul, mind, and in God-given strength, that I get Him right… in my living room.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He [the Spirit of Truth] who has begun a good work in you [and me], will PERFECT it until the day of Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 1:6] And He tells us before it happens, so we can take His heart, know His will, and speak His Truth… He’s coming, and this is BIG!
I do not want to do everything right, out of fear, but in reverence and awe to the glory of the One who I so love to serve… in the Right Way, with the Right witness. The opposite of truth is a lie, whether spoken or unspoken. The truth is not hidden or found behind a shroud of elephants. Apart from Jesus, if something or someone sounds ‘too good to be true’, it probably… is! And furthermore… this process of Truth will not be completed until that day… “JESUS!”
The BIGs that appear to me, now…
And I pray…
Oh my God… have I not forgiven the elephants of my past and learned from my mistakes along Your way for me? Have I not desired to do what’s good, better, perfect, in Your sight? Have I not repelled against compromised living; competitions of the heart, soul, mind, with the body, & in my own strength; and the ‘Don’t talk, Don’t trust, Don’t feel’… rules of love & engagement? So why Lord, do I continue to have elephants in my living room?
Dear Lord… Must I continue to endure deceit and assume guilt by association? I didn’t get here on my own. What is the duration of my current sentence? Must I pay restitution for another’s sin and affix myself to this crime, this elephant? Have I not already served my time… with elephants in my living room? And if your answer is “yes”, Lord… “How many should I expect and how long will be their stay?”
“Yes Lord”… I will if You Will. I will do whatever You ask. I just can’t continue ‘living in sin’. Lord, I know that You are with me. I know that You are for me. I know that You have never left me. And I know that You have always stood taller then any elephant I got; higher then any problem I face[d]. You Lord, are the BIGGEST in my life and I am not afraid to share this. But… Dear God, please tell me “where do I go from here”? There is an elephant-sized problem in my living room!
Amazingly… from this living [feeling like dying] room, I was given ’daily’ Scriptures, to devote to. And somehow [despite my captivity] in His divine way, He impressed upon me a way and means to expose the elephant and to place it where it belongs…
… in the OPEN [with an open BOOK]. I can no longer ignore, conceal, cover, or justify, the lies, the deceits, the secrets, the unspoken BIG problems [whether elephants, giants, or giant-sized elephants]… for those, including myself, who mishandle the Truth. I am to pray. I am to fast. And sometimes, I am to pray and hold fast ♥. Always, I am to let my light so shine before others that they may see good works and glorify the Father in Heaven. And I shall pray up-front, that all things be brought into the Light, before the Truth… especially that, which does not bring honor and glory to God. “If we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us, and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]
And, Dear God, PLEASE… let all big and small, return to You… Your commandments so loved to keep. I promise to be good, better… Perfect, only as I room with You… in everlasting peace.
It does not matter how I got here [by what sin or relation?], in this place [living room], with these elephants [and their unmentionables]… I am reminded by the BIG that’s coming [JESUS] and take it personal, to pray and fast [https://nnyphishnet.net/in-christ-daily/welcome-to-in-christ-daily/the-powerful-practice-of-fasting/], because these elephants have made their way into my life, for some reason and with His acceptance, and after all is unsaid and undone… they’re still my elephants.
THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU! AMEN!
Does your living room have an elephant, or two, or three? You’re not alone!
An Elephant in the Living Room – The Children’s Book http://books.google.com/books?id=cvlQaedvttIC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
By Jill M. Hastings, Marion H. Typpo,
Marion H Typpo PH D
The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded use of the phrase, as a simile, as The New York Times on June 20, 1959: “Financing schools has become a problem about equal to having an elephant in the living room. It’s so big you just can’t ignore it.”
The term refers to a question, problem, solution, or controversial issue that is obvious, but which is ignored by a group of people, generally because it causes embarrassment or is taboo. The idiom can imply a value judgment that the issue ought to be discussed openly, or it can simply be an acknowledgment that the issue is there and not going to go away by itself.
The term is often used to describe an issue that involves a social taboo, such as race, religion, or even suicide. This idiomatic phrase is applicable when a subject is emotionally charged; and the people who might have spoken up decide that it is probably best avoided.
The phrase “800 lb gorilla (in the room)” is a similar idiomatic expression; however, it refers to a large, unstoppable individual or organization that can exert its will as it desires, even if people do their best to ignore it (e.g. “Characterized by the leading fly-fishing trade journal as an ‘800-pound gorilla’ in the fly-fishing industry, Orvis is recognized for its ‘unparalleled influence on the sport’.”)
Nehemiah’s Grief for the Exiles
1The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah.
Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said, “I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. 8 Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’ 10 They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. 11 O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man.”
Now I was the cupbearer to the king.