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Monday, May 6, 2013

Alabaster, the Elephant

         "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you."  Maya Angelou

            This is the story of Alabaster, the elephant. I can't bear to keep him inside of me. Out he comes! Can you see how beautiful he is? How the morning sun shines through him, making him transluscent and warm? He 's old. He's heavy, for not being very big. He looks a little clunsy. His legs are too short.His little belly almost hangs on the ground. He has holes on the top of his back.
            He was once a salt shaker, with a partner for pepper. Somewhere he has lost his friend, though. I spotted him in a junk shop. He stood forlornly on a high shelf, surrounded by myriad other glass, plastic, clay, ceramic, you name it, creatures of all sorts and kinds. I fell for him instantly. I reached up and took him carefully in my hand. He felt cool, but when he sat in my hand for a minute, he warmed up. He had a tag taped on him that said "alabaster elephant shaker."
            I had never actually seen, nor touched alabaster before. I felt curious about him. I turned him over and around in my hands. I put him carefully back on his shelf, among all those other inferior animals. I really thought I would walk away. But I turned back and stood looking at him. Sun streamed through the windows above us. I saw how he changed from solid off white to opaline. I suddenly wanted him. I had no use for him, I just knew that he needed me to get him off that crowded shelf.
           I took him back down, I took him to the cash registar, and I shelled out my hard earned cash for him. I refused a bag. "No thanks. I'll carry him." He rode home in the car with me, standing solid and sweet on my console. Half way home, I suddenly remembered where he belonged. I had gotten him for a reason, I just hadn't known it at the time!
          I savoured him for a while. He made me smile every time I looked at him. Then I wrapped him carefully and sent him off home, with the US Postal Service. I'm pretty sure he'll get there safe and sound. I'm thinking that he will be welcomed joyfully. I know he will then join a a happy herd of his own kind, and he'll be treasured, and loved. He made me happy when I found him, and happy when I sent him on his way. See you later, Alabaster!
         Well, I've heard of alabaster all my life. "Thine alabaster cities gleam, undimmed by human tears." We all sang that many times. I always tried to picure it-a skyline of sky scrapers and church steeples all hard and gleaming white. I see now how it is . There would be a warm softness to those spires, a creamy melding of whites and off whites and  tans, and pearly nacre pastels. beautiful, lovely cities!
          That alabaster jar that Mary Magdalene broke to annoint Jesus with it's costly perfume. Probably it was quite small. Costly perfume today comes in small bottles.  The crowd around them watch in horror at such waste, and such surmising of how this woman would have gotten such a dear thing. But Jesus sees her heart, and the hearts of the others, his friends. He wants us to help the needy and the poor, but mostly He wants us to pour out our costly selves over Him and be humble, remorseful, and thankful that He will die and need this for His burial and ressurection.
         Alabaster feels hard, but it is easy to carve and can beshaped many ways. Cut thin enough, it was even used for window panes, letting in the light to those with in. It is ancient. Used from far back in time. A valuable commodity, even today.  There is even alabaster in the USA, in Oklahoma. Mostly it is used for lamp shades and vases and trinkets today. Before it lined entire buildings, walls, ceilings, floors. I can only imagine how that would look!
          Maybe worthless knowledge....but thanks, Alabaster Elephant, for helping me learn something new today, and putting a story inside me, that had to get out!



  1. who knew? Thank you mamma for a good morning story with no heaviness.

  2. Oh Gram. This alabaster elephant has indeed found a home with those of his own kind. Some are carved out of wood, some like this one are a form of stone, and others are ceramic. I have a mismatched herd of elephants, each one unique in its own way. I love them all, and I love you.

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  4. Ah! It just happened that I read your story about the elephant in the morning.I was then gone for the rest of the day. Yet thinking about the alabaster elephant on and off throughout the day. Upon my return, I pulled up to the mailbox to see what delivery might have come. Indeed, a carefully wrapped package bearing a NH return. I just had to chuckle. Wondering if this package DID contain what I hoped it just might.I had been saving up any graduation envelopes that came. But this package: I gave to Brooke right away.She wondered about this. I told her, "open the package first. Then read Gramma Annie's blog.I think you'll understand." And she did.!!