The Elephant In The Room

“The elephant in the room” is an expression that describes a topic, question, or issue that everyone knows about but no one mentions…

…Musing on random roomed-elephants that I’ve encountered…

Accepted elephants… Growing up we didn’t talk about sex, love, the war, feelings, emotions… These elephants were accepted, almost part of the furniture. Most of the time I didn’t realise they were there. I’m sure my friends would have a view as to whether these roomed-elephants made me insensitive, deprived, repressed…

Polite elephants… Sometimes folks people don’t mention the elephant out of politeness or consideration. A couple of days ago I was part of a conversation about middle aged people who dye their hair (or beards)… Everyone knows; their too kind to say anything.

Embarrassed elephants… Friends who have been through an addiction, a painful bereavement, a family crisis… talk of the elephants that everyone’s aware of, that some folk are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about.

Painful elephants… Sometimes I encounter issues that at the time are too sensitive, sad or painful for discussion. We know the elephant’s in the room, but today, we are sensitive enough to know that it won’t be acknowledged.

Confidential elephants… Sometimes folk are aware of the existence of an elephant; however the details of the elephant are confidential. Not everyone needs to know all of the personal details. The elephant doesn’t need a complete public viewing…  

Herded elephants… Thinking of one good friend… for historical reasons, to avoid embarrassment, there are a number of matters we don’t discuss. There’s a small herd of elephants in the room… It may or may not be a good thing; it’s the way it is.

Approaching Elephants… St Paul was wise when talking about ‘speaking the truth in love’… some emphasise truth – ‘The elephant’s there’; others emphasise love ‘We need protecting from elephants’. Approaching roomed-elephants wisely with truth and love in balance, we shall have courage, honesty, integrity, kindness, empathy and the right timing…   

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