How Elephants Symbolize Memory
I have many reasons to paint elephants. To summarize all of the different meanings, in one word, that word is MEMORY.
It’s related to my memories and the impression I had of elephants as I grew up in South Africa. Memories of the first time I ever saw an elephant in the Kruger National Park.
It’s related to the memories I have of family members who were Alabama football fans, and being introduced to the world of college football by my Aunt who was an Alabama cheerleader in college. Memories of meeting my husband, and learning his father had also been an Alabama Football cheerleader!
Memories are an amazing thing. A unique part of us, they inform how we relate to our current environment and a given situation.
Elephants have often been a symbol for memory.
If you, like me, have ever lost a family member with Alzheimer’s, or perhaps even Dementia, you know how sad and hard it is to feel like you are saying good bye to pieces of who they are slowly over time as they lose their memory and begin to lose their ability to function and recognize people who they love very much.
This is such a painful process for them and for the family around them. It truly is a redemptive and admirable pursuit that scientists are seeking to find ways to postpone the effects of these diseases and even finding ways to reverse these effects.
If you are interested in finding out more ways to contribute to these kinds of scientific endeavors please consider visiting the Alzheimer’s Association. Many of our family members have participated in studies with DIAN (Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer’s Network) and I believe so completely in what they are doing as well. They provide so many resources to families suffering from dominantly inherited Alzheimer’s including support groups for those affected by this disease.
As a Christian, I believe God never intended or designed humans to have bodies or minds that break down and die. This was never part of His original creation. Because of the sin in Adam, we all share in the breaking down of our world and bodies. However, to seek to reverse the results of the curse of sin is certainly one of our chief endeavors, and one of God’s best gifts of common grace.
However, I know this life is not our only hope. I find so much comfort in knowing with such certainty that all our memories will be restored in Heaven. I’ve written this poem as a reminder of this.
There are many moments in our lives
that God has given us
That moment when you hear good news
when there’s surprise
That funny joke
That delightful smile on a child’s sweet face
A family with a warm embrace
The compliments that ring sincere and true
Hearing someone say “I love you”
I’ve been given so many good things
Too many to recall them all
And many happy times are lost
As I forget to recall
Just how many blessings I’ve received
Each real moment
Each happy thing
The joy of knowing the creator God
Enjoying each unfolding truth
Seeing His creation
The different skies he paints
Every moment of every day
The transient gift of time
All stored up and cherished in my mind
But then I lose them
I can’t remember each happy thing
or precious moment
They fade away
As if they disappeared
But then I realized
God has given these things to me
They are mine forever
And one day when I go to be with Him…
Behold, all things are made new
the things I never knew before
I will discover
The things I had forgotten
I will recover
Every good and perfect moment
Every memory I had forgotten
I know God will give them back to me
Because nothing lasting is ever truly lost
Every good and perfect thing
There in my memories
Will be gifted back to me
And I’ll remember with perfect clarity
The first sincere prayer I ever heard
Or the first time I learned the truth of His word
The first time I prayed and trusted
And the feeling that I had when I knew God was my Father
My savior, my friend, closer than a brother
Close and caring as a kind mother
All truly good things never end
These memories will be given back to me
And last throughout eternity
As I spend my days basking in the goodness of my Lord
With many new happy moments in store
I’ll look ahead with excitement
And look back and praise Him on and on
For all those happy memories
That He gave to me because of His great love
With my mind transformed
Sharper and quicker than ever before
My God is truly strong
His great infinitude
So far beyond
Anything we could ever know
So Lord, Help me remember
That in you, I have true hope