March 2010

“How did you walk with the elephants?” That was the question I was asked on Facebook recently in response to my post that I had walked with the elephants in Mole Game Park in northern Ghana. The question was posed by a Christian minister and that prompted me to give it more thought.

I suppose in a way, the question is easier answered for me because I am not constrained by the currently fashionable teachings of evangelical or charismatic Christianity. I was born into and raised in a Christian family, and was baptized as a baby long before I had any say in the matter. As soon as I left home after my high school, I dispatched with the restrictions of Christianity. Throughout my life I have found much more resonance in traditional spiritual beliefs, in my homeland in Canada with First Nations peoples and here in Africa with those who still adhere to their traditional beliefs. These are the ideas which have defined the core of my spiritual being and have reinforced a respect for the natural resources with which Spirit has blessed us.

This leads back to the question – how do we walk with the elephants? Well, we walk with them in the same way that we walk with the smallest ant that crosses our path, or the butterflies that unexpectedly flutter in and out of our space, or the birds that greet us each morning when we awake, or the spirits that inhabit the streams that provide us with life-sustaining water and the great trees and small plants that inhabit our forest and which cure our physical ailments.

There is a greater force running throughout all of these which sets in motion the circumstances that we encounter each day of our lives. It is up to each of us to make the choices which will be most advantageous to all, and therein lays the challenge for each of us. The blessing which our brother/sister elephants have given us  is this – through their size they capture our attention and force us to focus on the most fundamental questions of our existence in this sphere. Let us express our gratitude for these mighty beasts, and let us act in such a way as to ensure that they will be with succeeding generations to offer that lesson to them.