the emperor and his elephants

Things are getting quite crowded for the emperor these days. It all started with the proverbial elephant in the room which didn’t seem all that problematic at the time. After all, it is a big room in which the emperor resides and that first elephant was such a small elephant, that it was quite overlooked. Which is to be expected because elephants in rooms are traditionally and historically overlooked. That’s the whole point of their existence. That’s why these elephants end up staying so long. They get comfortable. They find they prefer the “safe space” of the room to their natural habitat, the jungle. Elephants understand why we humans say, “it’s a jungle out there!” They prefer the protected environment of the room to the dangers of their jungle home.

Now traditionally it has been – one elephant per room. Hence the phrase “the elephant in the room.” But the emperor has changed all that. He has allowed multiple elephants to take up residence with him, providing them sanctuary as it were, and the room has become quite crowded. Not only are there multiple elephants in the room, more than ever before actually, but the elephants themselves are growing larger and larger the longer they remain in the room with the emperor.

Truth is, there are so many elephants in the room nowadays, that it’s hard to find the emperor, let alone to actually get a good look at the emperor. Perhaps this is just as well, however, because despite rampant rumors to the contrary, the emperor does not have new clothes. In fact, the emperor does not have old clothes or any clothes at all. Currently, the emperor is most decidedly naked. (not a good look to be sure)

But in a room filled with oversized, overlooked, unmentionable elephants, the emperor’s secret is kept safe. The emperor’s nakedness is as unmentionable as are the elephants themselves that reside with him in his room. I guess they kind of keep each other’s secrets – this emperor and his elephants. Silence is the keeper of all secrets and elephants in rooms are not to be acknowledged nor discussed in any form or fashion. I think that’s why so many elephants take up residence in rooms where they can remain invisible. (ok, they are not actually invisible, but the rules of the room dictate that all who enter in agree to pretend they do not see said elephants, just as they further agree not to notice the emperor’s nakedness but instead to compliment profusely the emperor’s stunning new clothes) The elephants will continue to take refuge in the room of the emperor until someone has the courage to call them out (figuratively and literally) and they are forced to return to the jungle.

At present it seems “elephant caller outers” are in short supply. It is quite impossible to find one really. Perhaps this is the result of courage and critical thinking skills being in equally short supply? But whatever the reason, the elephants continue to multiply and to grow quite large as they are left to their own devices, unacknowledged, unchallenged and therefore undisturbed. Perhaps they are earning their keep by providing much needed cover for the emperor in his currently naked state.

The casual observer might notice that the floor in the emperor’s room seems to be sagging. However, if a question about the damaged floor is voiced, there are plenty of alternative explanations available to address this phenomenon – none of which include overweight elephants that our public discourse tells us do not exist. Therefore, the sagging floor couldn’t possibly be the fault of the emperor’s many elephants.

Still there are now cracks appearing in the foundation of the emperor’s house. Turns out the emperor is housing elephants in many rooms, not just the one. In fact, he has elephants stashed all over his residence and these elephants require a lot of upkeep. As they multiply in number and grow larger in size, the emperor’s house is beginning to buckle under the weight of all these “elephants in the room.” It would appear that a total collapse of the emperor’s house is unavoidable unless his house can be emptied out of all the elephants. Perhaps exposing said elephants publicly might persuade them to return to their jungle home. (the elephants might actually prefer dealing with jungle predators rather than dealing with being recognized as real in their previously “safe rooms” and having no where to run)

But if the elephants are exposed, then the emperor’s nakedness will be exposed for all to see as well. The emperor needs the elephants but he’s running out of rooms in which to house them. It is “unsustainable” as we so often hear about so many practices. Ironically, it is not a “house of cards” that is ready to come crashing down, but a “house full of elephants” instead. And the latter will be the longer, louder crash.

I would hope that the elephants could be dealt with and returned to their proper place before their presence destroys the house in which they have been hiding. The house was never meant to give the elephants shelter nor sanctuary. It was meant to house not so much an emperor as a leader, a shepherd, a keeper of the covenant between a people and the laws they created to ensure their freedom and the freedom of those that would come after them.

With the elephants gone, the emperor will be in need of some new clothes because he will be clearly visible once again. (I think that’s what they call transparency) Reputable tailors must be found who will provide the emperor with garments not so much currently fashionable as they are enduringly timeless chic – clothes that will cover over human frailty with protection and strength – garments of integrity, of character and of courage – garments of humility, of service and of righteousness. These are the new clothes the emperor will need when the elephants no longer provide him cover.

Yes, the emperor is currently naked, but it is my hope that he will indeed one day have new clothes for real, not the appearance of a fabulous new wardrobe, mind you, but actual new robes of justice, liberty, and truth to cover his former nakedness.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)

“The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Your throne was established log ago; You are from all eternity.” (Psalm 93:1- 2)

” . . . clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds. . . . Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of Your kingdom.” (Psalm 45:3-6)

sincerely, Grace Day

One thought on “the emperor and his elephants

  1. I really liked the satire you used in this blog. It is very well done and sadly very true. The humor was well received!😉 I love how you tied in scriptures about being clothed in majesty and splendor in regard to the emperor and really to all of us. We truly need each and every one of us to rise to the occasion and speak out and speak truth to a world that appears to be going mad. Our silence has become deafening. May God have mercy on us!


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