Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Big Elephant

Today has been a really great day for me. I have to share it with everyone out there reading this blog. At my school we participated in this event called Orange and Blue Starts With You. (orange and blue are our school colors) and it was all about how to stop bullying and how to reach out to each other. The day started off for the seniors with a guest speaker who made us both laugh and cry. This guy was hilarious and he seemed like someone who could really relate to us. I'm sure that I'm not alone in saying that some of what he said really hit us as a class.

Something that he said that really hit home and will be remembered by our class for a long time was the parable of the Big Elephants. Only the seniors got to hear this but I think everyone should read about it so I'm going to tell you all about it. So there was this documentary on Animal Planet a while back and it was all about these elephants in Africa that were dieing because their habitat was being consumed by us crazy humans so some activists thought about what they could do and decided that it would be best if they moved the elephants to a reservations a few hundred miles away. Well, they moved a few elephants and then realized just how expensive it was to move elephants and they thought, "Hey what if we just moved the little ones?" So they took a bunch of little elephants and moved them to the reservation. All was fine and dandy but then a few weeks later the activists got a call from the reservation. Apparently the little elephants were circling and trampling white rhinos to death. They would wait for the rhino to leave the herd and take him down. The reservation would figure out who the lead elephant was and put him or her down but soon enough another would step up to be the leader and they'd have to euthanize that one too.
So the activists were called in to fix the problem. They struggled and struggled, trying to figure out what they could do about the punk elephants until one man asked a question. "Where are the big elephants?" Well, it was too expensive to bring them here. "Okay, then who is teaching these elephants how to be big elephants?" That was the key. These elephants were still acting like children, like teenagers because they had no one to set the example for them. So some big elephants were brought in, they didn't look anything different than the 'little' elephants. Not very long after the 'big' elephants were brought to the reservation a white rhino broke away from his fellows and sure enough the 'little' elephants took off to go kill him. The 'big' elephants looked over and they did something about it. They went and stood between the 'little' elephants, put their heads down and began to shake their trunks from side to side. The 'little' elephants backed off and left the rhino in peace. Soon the 'little' elephants were doing everything that the 'big' elephants did; following them everywhere.
What's the point of this story? Who do you want to be in life; the 'little' elephant that never learns how to grow up and chooses to mentally trample people with what you say to them or how you treat them? Or do you want to be a 'big' elephant; someone that stands up for someone in need even when you don't know who they are? I would hope that everyone out there would want to be a 'big' elephant. I know that all of the seniors at my school want to be the best 'big' elephant ever.

A big part of the day was about how we can't see what is going on beneath the surface; just like an ice burg we can only see 10%. That is so true. No one goes around proclaiming everything that is going on in their life. People keep secrets, people shell up. It's a defense. It's scary to be vulnerable like that. But like I've written before, what would it be like to see exactly what is going on with someone? What would it be to completely understand how someone is feeling? I'm posting a video on here that I think everyone should watch. Every day that you wake up, every time you step out of your bed you should put on your perspecticles. Look beyond yourself and your own problems. There is no way that you can know how hard it is to simply function for some people out there.

It's so easy to be sarcastic and take people down. I'm guilty of it. I think everyone is at one point or other. We're all human. We make mistakes. It's hard to forget yourself and think of others first. But it can be done. I can't comprehend what some people go through in their life. I've been blessed with a pretty good life and I try not to take it for granted. But that's not to say that I don't struggle as well. I have been teased and made to feel completely inferior by my peers, sometimes even without their knowledge. So many times, friends say things and don't even realize how hurtful they can be. I've been made to feel like a complete monster by someone I thought was my friend. I've been made to feel more like an object than an actual person by someone I had considered a friend. I know what it's like to pull over and sob in your car. I know what it's like to break down in the shower and let the water wash away your tears. I know what it's like to walk down the hall and feel like the school would be better that day if you had just stayed home. I know what it's like to just want to turn your music up real loud and drown out the world. I think that a lot of people look at me and see as someone how is happy about everything, nothing ever goes wrong in my life, that I've got everything together, and that I have no idea what sorrow and sadness is. Ah, if you really knew me you would know that I struggle almost daily with feeling wanted at school and cheer. Life was not meant to be easy. There has to be opposition in everything, it's how Heavenly Father created this world. For if we didn't know the feeling of sorrow, how would we ever know the exquisiteness of joy?

I just want to end with a poem that I read in a magazine that my church puts out for the youth called The New Era. It's titled Quest for the Best by Kathryn May Chapman.

Quest for the Best:
I left your arms so long ago
To venture into life,
Into this world of beauty
Of challenges and strife.
What is it you would have me do?
What treasure should I find?
The answer comes so quietly
And gently to my mind.
It isn't gold or diamonds
Or something you can see,
The Lord has sent me out upon
The quest for the best in me.

And that's exactly what we should be doing in this life. We're on a quest for the best in us. In order to find the best in ourselves what better way than to reach out to others? We won't find the best we can be if we constantly worry about how we look or how we present ourselves. There is no great joy than giving to others. Giving kindness. Giving love. Giving understanding. Try it sometime. Be a Big Elephant.

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