Dear Why Team member,
I hope this weeks message finds you well and encouraged.
This week we consider:
Why Encounter an Elephant?
Now that’s a strange question. And to be clear, I would be very careful should you encounter one in the wild.
Recently on a trip with my family to Southeast Asia, we had the privilege to visit an Elephant Sanctuary. Not a place that exploits elephants, but rather saves them from exploitation and even death. Each elephant at the sanctuary had a story: One elephant had had his tusks removed and almost died. Another had been chained with no freedom. In both Buddhism and Hinduism, the elephant is a highly regarded animal often symbolizing various gods and is representative of strength, wisdom, and patience. There was no riding at this sanctuary, but rather an opportunity to be with these gentle giants. It was an experience I will never forget: feeding them, actually bathing in the mud with them, believe it or not, and finally rinsing off with them in a large stream. It may sound silly, but it was captivating to enter their world. I forgot even my smallest worry, gave into the moment and had lots of fun with only the occasional concern of them stepping on us with their big feet. To connect to them further, and because it was fun, I even rubbed my back against a tree, an elephant had just used to do the same.
Looking into their eyes and touching their rough skin - mammals so large and yet like big dogs in their friendliness - was truly an amazing experience. It’s hilarious what they can do with their trunks like when they wrap them around your neck for a hug or sneak them behind you to grab the banana in your other hand.
Life is such a wondrous thing and no doubt through our relationships with animals, big and small, we experience it all-the-more.
It was so special to stand beside and interact with such a wonderful animal; so much bigger than us and yet so peacefully present and downright fun. To watch them bathe and trumpet with joy was a sight to behold.
This week I wanted to share with you the experience and encourage you, if the opportunity ever presents itself, to encounter an elephant. Please consider their treatment as not to promote their abuse.
For the Why Team members who love animals, this post is especially for you.
Make it a great week,