Have You Seen Your Elephant Today?

There are very few things that I find difficult to believe. In fact, my commitment to fanciful thinking is such that I once seriously considered following an unusually plump Easter' Cove rabbit into the woods in an Alice in Wonderland-ish fervour. Belief and her sisters, faith and wonder come pretty easily. And they have never led me astray. But, of course there are concepts and ideas that leave me spinning when presented as facts. For example, I can hardly believe that if Len had a question about Nepalese sheep farming practices, he could pick up a boxy little device called a phone and have a quick conversation with a colourfully clad shepherd thousands of miles away. Just by pressing a few buttons! (Yes, I know he could also text the shepherd in Nepal but a conversation just seems bit nicer!) I also struggle with the idea that bologny, much maligned by anyone with a devotion to heart health, is evil incarnate, especially when thickly sliced and lovingly placed on a slice of white homemade bread. I refuse to believe that there is not some measure of goodness floating around in each and every human. And, dear readers, I cannot believe that irregardless is not a real word! Then, there are those easy beliefs that have settled into my consciousness so seamlessly and solidly that they are as much a part of my daily approach to living as is breathing. I believe that when we send love out into the universe, even in the smallest of ways, it bounces back to us like a joyful boomerang, enriching us and the world. I believe that having some spiritual connection to how you approach life is as important as any five grain bread or midday workout. Interestingly enough, I also believe that a breakfast enjoyed with the wise, whimsical wizard Gandalf and the saucy, soulful singer Niki Minaj would be fabulous. I really do. Finally, I believe that each day, every day, we are offered nudges, reminders, offers that can change us, if only we are open to them. And so enters Elizabeth Gilbert. The fantastically fun and thoughtful American writer was once asked in an interview about her beliefs. She went on to describe a particularly low time in her life when the challenges seemed to heavily outweigh the triumphs. She was trudging through her day, running errands which included a mundane visit to a post office in her neighbourhood in New York City, where she was living at the time. Earlier that day, in an attempt to dig herself out of the dreariness, she made a pledge to search for something beautiful within the day. As she walked out of the post office, what was marching down the street only five elephants adorned in glitter and gold with show girls teetering on their embellished backs. There was the beauty. Five glittery elephants. It changed how she experienced that day. She was open to it. She acknowledged the nudge. She saw the elephant. I saw my own elephant last week except that the elephant wasn't an elephant and New York was Placentia. I had spent the day in Clarenville for work. Having driven for a total of five hours with only a ham sandwich and a small cup of tea to keep me going, I was wore out. In fact, as I made my way along the highway, I felt like a small Air Canada Express plane that was all out of gas (driving 90-100) being accompanied by bold fighter jets (driving 130-150) that were fearless and haughty. So between the long haul, the reckless drivers and my growling belly, I was tired. Then came my elephant. I was driving through Placentia, thanking God that I was only an hour away from home, dreaming of a cup of hot tea, half complaining, half childish and there she was. As bright and welcoming as the early morning sun bursting through after a foggy week, Our Lady of Fatima. A family from Portugal, living in Ontario, traveled to Newfoundland to bring Our Lady to the island in this, the 100th year since she appeared to three children in Cove D'Iria. She was housed in a glass case at the back of their bus, her white gown edged with hints of azure blue, her veil framing a face filled with love. As I gazed upon this scene, it was as if my day and the minor complaints that had consumed me dissolved. In essence, they transformed so that I could see wholly the beauty around me....the fine Summer evening, the safe drive that had been a blessing in itself, the supper waiting for me when my journey ended. I was open to the blessing. I acknowledged the nudge. I saw Our Lady of Fatima. In Placentia. On the side of the road. On a Tuesday evening. Keep an eye out my friends! It could be a friend who you haven't seen in ages. Or a song that catches your heart. Or even a small kind gesture that grabs your day and turns it around. Whatever your elephant looks like, I hope you're open to him. You'd never know when you could see him walking around the Gut!

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