The Elephant in the Room


elephant-roomWhen I first began writing, “Just Some Good Thoughts” a number of years ago, my goal then was and my goal now is to help people escape the dark side of life; escape the suffering; escape the bondage; escape the pain. In that vein, my aim is to point people towards the light; towards the happiness and towards the joy. It has been my experience that life itself is not unhappy, nor should it be accompanied by difficulty as if by design, but rather those things come as a result of influences hell bent on making trouble for people; setting up and crafting hardships; obscuring man’s mind from the things he really needs to see. The reason a man or a woman cannot see is because their minds have been blinded to some reality. Further, it seems those evil influences don’t gain access to people’s hearts from many avenues, but instead a few areas craftily hidden from view. Complete catastrophe and disaster would render any heart humble in desperation to survive. But, the little things, the small compromises, the continued allowance of things that cause pain, they seem to be the chosen method for attack. Often these disturbances are easier for other people to see, but remain veiled to the soul of the one caught in the trap. Clearly there is an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. What is the elephant in your room?

None of us needs any more judgment than we are already subjected to in our daily life. It is never helpful for a person, determined to set a matter right, to come crashing in pointing out our weaknesses with a wrecking ball approach. Wrecking balls, however efficient, tend to smash things down rather than build things up. Instead people need to arrive at their own conclusions. Pointing out the errors in someone’s ways needs to be reserved for the person with no error in their own ways and that lone person who lived above error, out of love, chose not to do it. And, if you’re honest, do you really know the source of the other person’s problem? Difficulty and distress have many different disguises. Some much like the ones you wear. The elephant in the room must be found by the one it affects. 

In order for a gigantic creature to escape a person’s view it must be deftly hidden from them. Or maybe it is something that can be seen, but is not seen correctly for what it really represents. All deception functions this way. And all of us have been deceived. Deception is successful because it covers the real causes and as such masks the real effects. No man, no woman would persist in error if they saw it for what it really was. Instead, the error is portrayed as something good ever offering the promise of good times and lasting pleasures. The measure, therefore, is the fruit it is producing in your life. If the fruit is good, God bless it and may it continue. If the fruit is bad leading to problems and difficulties and mental duress, it deserves your further inspection. That which you do and every time you do it, it leads to turmoil and unrest, is likely in need of some revision. None of us produce only good fruit and we all are in need of some revisions. It isn’t that all of our life is bad or evil, but rather some several areas are in need of repair. Those are our elephants in the room and often they can be remedied by slight modifications and changes, not complete life overhauls. It may be as simple as making the decision to exercise some control in an area whereby you formerly held no control. It may be ridding yourself of a trusted friend who is not your friend and serves only as a thorn in your flesh. It may be as nonthreatening as a shift in priorities. If our lives were a complete wreck it would be more clear to us by now. It is in the subtleties where the ruse takes place. It is error practiced for so long that it no longer appears as error. How much suffering has been engendered by an elephant we can no longer see or even discern?  

God is more than willing to help you spot these elephants in your existence. He not only sees them for the error they really are, but also sees what is behind them. He knows precisely how they got to you and even more precisely how to help you escape from them. In this you can always trust God. Unlike the many false reports concerning Him, He is very tender and long suffering in our lives. He brings you to a place only when you are ready to see it and even then leaves your freedom of will intact. His will for us is only the best things in life, though it often take us years to gain this recognition for ourselves. Like any loving parent, He does not want to see you suffer. It pains Him to see you rebelliously moving forward on things that will result in your own harm, but allows you to do so anyway, remaining ever present to pick you up when you fall.  What a glorious day it is when you finally decide to stop leaning to your own understanding and lean to His instead. God looks on your heart. He heard your prayers. He knows you don’t understand what is going on. He hears your cries to Him. But, in order to receive your answer, you have to begin listening to Him. Follow His gentle promptings and be assured He is not the one accusing you or causing you to suffer, ever! He is faithfully at work helping you to see and rid yourself of all of the elephants in your own rooms. He desires you be free from all bondage and hardship and pain. Is there an elephant in your room making your life less than what God intended it to be? If so, let God help you and guide you in not only beginning to see it for yourself, but also in helping you remove it from your life. 

What is the elephant in the room? Nothing if you trust God and let Him show you the best way to live!

Just some good thoughts…

Love is the Only “Why…”


“I’m in all of it. … I was there in her laugh but I’m also here in your pain. I’m the reason for everything. I am the why. Don’t try to live without me, Howard. Please don’t.” ~ Aimee Moore, Collateral Beauty. Last night I watched a beautiful movie about a man (Will Smith) searching for answers following the death of his child. In his quest, he sought answers from death, time and love. Love’s apt response for life was, “I am the reason for everything. I am the why…” Love will always be the only “why.”

Behind every heartbeat in life is love. It is the life-giving solution to a world lost in emptiness and pain. It is the light that shines in the darkness. It is in the warmth of a sunny day. It refutes fear and is the only motive that is always right. It is sought for by all and obscured for so many. It is ever-present and waiting behind very corner. It can make all it touches beautiful and can soften even the hardest heart. It will always be your only “why.”

For all of the negative events that can happen in your life; for all the things that can go astray; for all of your sorrow and losses and pain, nothing takes away the joy of living more than the absence of love. You began your life full of love, both in receiving and giving. As your mother poured her love into you, you poured your love back into her. As your father’s love flowed through his hand into your hand, your love flowed back from your hand to his hand as well. Living life with love was for you as natural as breathing. If you didn’t receive the love you needed, you found others that would give it to you and you back to them. Love was your only “why.”

Sadly, as you aged, you found that love wasn’t as plentiful in the world. The people you interacted with had hearts that were hardened through difficulty and rejection. And, as they built up walls around their hearts in an attempt at self-preservation, you built up walls around your own heart as well. Like a callous on your hand, your heart became desensitized to love. Many find themselves groping through life looking for the love that already lives inside them, behind self-made barriers. In their numbness, they seek love in alcohol, in recognition, in admiration, in romance after romance. They aspire for wealth, extreme fitness, plastic surgery and anything that promises them the love they’ve been searching for all along, unable to see because of the hardness of their hearts. They forgot love was their only “why.”

Your hardness of heart wasn’t something you intended, but rather a response to your own experience of life. As the world gnawed away at you, you couldn’t perceive what was happening. You internalized its messages of guilt and shame. You accepted responsibility for every weakness and shortcoming and falsely concluded that there was something wrong with you. You became afraid to express who you really are and opted instead to portray yourself as someone else; someone you felt people would love. You carried around your failings like sandbags, refusing to set your own self free. You just couldn’t imagine that you deserved any better. You never understood that your feelings are universal feelings and in even in moments of rejection, the people rejecting you needed the love as much as you did. For all people, love is the only “why…”

Finding the love that you feel has been eluding you, isn’t in doing better, being better or working harder. It’s not a function of discipline or reading books or in finding your soul mate. Love is manifested in giving. True love gives of itself freely and unreservedly, not by pretense, but in truth. You give out your love to other people and to yourself. You give love to yourself by giving yourself a break. You love yourself by deciding to no longer think disparaging thoughts about yourself and accept yourself for who you are. You cease giving love conditions to maintain and love yourself unconditionally. You love yourself by changing your focus from yourself, your stuff, your hangups, your frustrations, to other people’s stuff and hangups and frustrations. You offer them love and unending forgiveness. You speak kindness and tenderness and sweetness and you refuse to speak otherwise. You remind them that love is their only “why!”

As the gentle, spring sunshine and moisture encourages all living things to grow, while melting away the harshness of the long winter, you melt away the hardness of your heart by returning to love. You don’t need a wall to protect your heart, you need a heart that’s full of love. Love is the life-giving source of the universe. God is love. Love climbs the highest mountains and swims the greatest depths. Love chooses the object of its adoration by decision, not a feeling, and thus gives and gives and gives. As you give, you receive back a thousandfold, for love is a generous giver. Love is the only “why.”

Love is all around you, my friends, seeking life-giving expression through you. Don’t refuse love its entrée to your heart, nor stifle its flow from your heart to others. In love you will see again the wonder that is all around you. It is in your grandson’s eyes, your wife’s laughter and your mother’s touch. It’s on the pages of a good book, in the walls of your home and under your feet in your own backyard. It’s in the wag of your old dog’s tail and the embrace of a good friend. Love is forever the only “why” so be sure to notice her collateral beauty…

Love is the reason for everything…

Don’t try to live without it.

Just some good thoughts.