Lessons from an Elephant Mobile
I received it from my dear friend Kumu as a gift - a pretty, colourful cloth mobile made of lovely little elephants that were decked in orange, brown and red. I do enjoy mobiles. I do enjoy elephants. And so, that little Elephant mobile was quite the perfect gift! (Thanks Kumu! However did you know?)
I was eager to hang my new acquisition somewhere I could spot often during my day. I hunted enthusiastically for a hook I could hang it on. There were none visible. Finally, I discovered an interesting spot for it. A small magnetic robot stands on our fridge door. I fixed the picturesque mobile so that it hung down from the robot’s foot. Yes, I liked that.
But then…there was one little problem. The fridge door is of course opened many times a day. And so, the mobile would sometimes get dislodged from the robot. Or the robot and the mobile both would both unceremoniously crash to the floor. I told myself with a sigh that it wasn’t the ideal place for to hang the mobile after all.
A few weeks later, there was a lot of activity in our home, initiated by my beloved. My husband was very busy tapping panels in our home, his head ablaze with ideas, looking for the perfect spot where he could fix a couple of speakers for a new TV sound system. I found him hard at work one day. Lo and behold, he fixed one of the speakers in what he reckoned was the ideal spot – on the ceiling of our kitchen.
But… wait a minute! The spot was right above the place I often stood, as I heated food in the microwave. We both gazed up at his clever handiwork, looking up at the heavy speaker hanging precariously from above. And realised that this was not the ideal spot for a speaker. It could fall down with a mighty bang on my pretty little head! It had been fixed securely. But if by chance it did take a tumble – I would be in the way. Oops!
Shan and I looked at it and then we looked at each another. We started to laugh. And we continued laughing! It was so funny. A disaster waiting to happen. I’d feel very insecure standing under that speaker umpteen times a day with the threat of it falling on my head. No – I didn’t want anything heavy to fall on my head – and neither did he!
The very next day, my clever man found the perfect solution. He fixed the two speakers on the wall on either side of our TV. They looked pretty good - two little black speakers hanging in perfect symmetry, on two sides of a brand new TV, their black a striking contrast to the cream coloured wall. Problem solved. And then…very happily, he solved yet another problem. The little hook he’d fixed on the ceiling for his speaker was now empty. Guess what went on it?
Yes, my colourful cloth elephant mobile. It looked pretty good hanging there!
Even now as I type – I turn my head and look behind me, and see it hanging there. I like what I see. We both like the look of our new mobile in that unusual spot in the kitchen. But when I first began to use the microwave after the mobile was fixed, I’d felt a wee bit strange. Because the mobile was in my face. Well – not quite. But it was in line with my nose. An irritating feeling it was, like having a cobweb touching my face or seeing a dark spot on my nose. You know the feeling?
I decided that I’d probably get used to it. And we could give it a go. I suggested we wait a week before we remove it. I was right. In less than a week, my nose and eyes (and the rest of me) were fine about this hanging contraption in my kitchen. It didn’t bother me a bit. In fact – I enjoyed having it there. Yes, I had got used to it.
As I mused on what had occurred, I realised that there are some things in life which I need to get used to. Which I need to accept. Which I need to allow, even if they are difficult to accept. There are other things in life though that I should not get used to. I should not allow. I should challenge and fight. I should change if I can with God’s help.
“What am I talking about”, you ask? Let me explain.
Some of the things I need to accept are matters like the ever changeable weather, (I don’t think I could change the weather, do you?) a mishap that occurs, an irritating habit of my spouse, a friend’s mistake, ill health when it comes, a prayer that God answers with a loud ‘No’ and many others that are part and parcel of our daily lives. Those things that are not pleasant but which we cannot change by wishful thinking or otherwise.
Some of what I should not get used to are those I can change – or should change. They include these things. My bad attitude to bad news or tough circumstances, the unhealthy food I eat, injustice wherever it happens, abuse - whatever source it comes from, negative traits, harmful habits, an ungrateful heart, sin of any kind… yes, the list goes on. There are lots of those too aren't there?
Two good questions then for you and me to ponder on today!
What would God want me to be accepting of and to trust Him with this week?
And what does He want me to be uncomfortable with and to work hard to change?
The Serenity prayer encapsulates these thoughts beautifully, doesn’t it?