I heard today a Ghanaian/Biblical fable about an elephant. I’ve totally changed the story, but en tout cas, here is my version:
During his holidays, one of the archangels watching over Ghana (let’s call him Kofi) went on a safari in Kenya where he saw many elephants. “Unfortunately,” Kofi remarked sadly, “there are very, very few such beautiful elephants remaining in Ghana.” So he decided to carve one out of a huge rock, so that Ghana would have an elephant forever. Kofi was especially eager to show the completed sculpture to an archangel friend (let’s call her Fatima) who watched over a country with no elephants and had never seen one.
The labor took Kofi a long time and great exhaustion and effort, because angels are not trained, like humans, to carve rocks. Finally, after months of work, Kofi invited Fatima to fly over to Ghana to see his masterpiece. When Fatima saw it, she was amazed.
What beautiful work Kofi,
she said, admiring the perfect, enormous elephant.
For an angel, you are almost as talented as a human sculptor!
Kofi blushed a little at this and thanked her. Fatima took pictures on her iPhone 9S (how did you think they could fly?) and returned home. When she arrived, a visiting human from a far away land was praying to her. She (let’s call her Esther) was very upset. “Archangel Fatima!” she cried.
“I need your help! My home has become like a war scene! My brothers hate each other, my parents beat each other, everyone fights and yells and there is much anger and violence. I fear for my beloved family! Please guide me, how can I help them to create love and peace, when it seems impossible?!”
“Go to visit Archangel Kofi in Ghana,”
Fatima advised, answering her prayer.
“He knows how to create impossible things.”
So Esther traveled to Ghana, where she immediately beheld the gorgeous, flawless elephant carving Kofi had made. “Archangel Kofi!” she exclaimed,
“How did you possibly make this? You are an angel, so you must know nothing about carving and sculpting rocks as we humans do. And you didn’t even have an elephant in front of you to use as a model! Just as you created the impossible, so too must I learn to create love and peace in my home, which has fallen into violence and hatred.”
Kofi answered her prayer, saying,
“Dearest Esther, you ask how did I create a perfect elephant without an animal model or a knowledge of sculpture? I will tell you. I chipped away the parts of the rock that were not the elephant. Just as an angel, if they work hard enough, can do the labor of a human, likewise can a human, if they work hard enough, accomplish the labor of an angel. If you seek the impossible – love amidst hatred, peace amidst war – start by chipping away at what is not love, at what is not peace. Chip away at the rocks in your home, in your own soul. With time and hard work, you too can create the impossible; with the chisel of your heart, you can bring peace to your home, as an elephant emerges from a rock.”