Thursday, August 20, 2009

Elephant Vs: Mosquito

We’ve all heard of the pink elephant. Some of us know that elephant so well it’s a garish and bright red in some family settings. You know, you’re all sitting around making polite friendly conversation dodging that one particular topic with such effort and care. You’ve been there. I’ve been there. Fun, isn’t it? Not so healthy though.

Have you heard of the mosquito? While driving my kids to a play date the other day I heard of it and didn’t stop hearing about it the whole way there. Apparently there was a vicious twelve tooth mosquito on the loose in our car, ready to take down the nearest child it saw. I had to turn the music up a little louder than normal in order to drown out the cacophony of squeals and yells that the mosquito was getting them. I heard about that mosquito the entire way! No reprieve. (Actually, I pulled over at some point and clobbered the twelve toothed monster).

Okay, what’s the tie in? We all know people who avoid topics at all costs. Well, we also all know people who go there and then go there again and then swing back by one to twenty more times. They’re quite simply skilled at talking about something until it becomes road kill. No question about whether or not the topic is dead—it is road kill! Whether they’re “venting” about the annoying family member, the friend that stabbed them in the back or the cruel thing their child said to them…they go on and on and on and there is no closure on the horizon. The venting is endless.

We’ve all been hurt; most of us have been hurt badly (that’s the hard part about living). And I think talking is a positive and beneficial way to process hurt. But, there comes a point when we’re called to move on, to shuffle on down the road. If you’re stuck on something and you find yourself addressing the topic over and over with your friends or loved ones, the topic is likely road kill and YOU’VE BECOME THE MOSQUITO. It’s okay, I’ve been the mosquito. We all have. But now that you know you are…you can’t stay that way. It’s not allowed. You need to turn into some midsized animal because you can’t go back to being a pink elephant.

I’m partial to dogs.

*photos by flickr


  1. This is so true. And worth thinking about for awhile.

  2. Not a big dog fan...but I wouldn't mind being a ferrit. However will it be ok to remain a gnome. Cuz gnomes don't talk at all. (Unless they are the gnomes in my daughters new poem....story to be on blog tomorrow)

    Needless to say, I think this is a great post and possibly very great timing for a situation going on in my life where I am trying to squash the gigantic 12 tooth mosquito in the head!

    Thank you for bringing perspective :)

  3. They're really two extremes, aren't they? I wouldn't want to be either...I do believe in confrontation and finding a voice to speak against oppression and ignorance as a Christian. The pink elephant often seems voiceless and living to please everyone around them instead of recognizing their purpose and power to create change and growth (even if it means getting on someone's nerves, initially). And oddly enough, as irritating as they can be, I've always felt sympathy for the 12-toothed mosquito. They usually continue to angrily shout their truth and experiences only because they don't feel listened to, much less heard.

    While I recognize those moments in my past where I was the mosquito and finally had the wisdom to restrain my passion due to deaf ears, I can hardly bring myself to tell a friend or loved one (who's in the same situation) to give up hope of being heard. It must come in their time and I can only offer my sympathy and prayers for their journey. They deeply desire validation. Maybe they'll get that one day from those they want to hear it from most. On the other hand, it's very possible that they haven't yet discovered their validation in the Lord--the master of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

    Good post, Wendy. <3

  4. Great point. I feel like I am dealing with this situation right now with a family member. I do need to move on and draw some boundaries. I think it's time!

  5. WOW. What a powerful metaphor. I've rarely been an elephant, often been a mosquito. I think I've turned into the 12-toothed variety lately and I'm glad to have you point it out.

  6. Hmm.. I've definitely had mosquito's of the mind, ruminating with no end in sight about a particular topic. I'm careful about what I say to people just for that reason, I've known people like that and they annoy me to no end.

  7. What an interesting perspective. I think that women in particular have a tendency to need that 'venting'. I'm okay with it to a point, but then it gets to be a bit much. Good thoughts.

  8. Boy, that's one ugly hairy mosquito!!! I don't want to be one. I think we've all been one and been bitten by one.

    Good analogy!

  9. Smashed a mosquito this morning. Never thought about them quite like this. You shined a light in my heart, I'll be chewing on this one.

    Blessings from Costa RIca,
    Sarah Dawn

  10. Wow, Wendy, you're right on the mark. We all fail at both ends of the extreme, but as soon as we recognize what we're doing we better smarten up. I do try too. The problem is that I'm very good at NOT recognizing what I'm doing soon enough.

  11. Point taken! I do believe I'm headed toward mosquito status about something right now. I'll quit before I reach it.

  12. I guess we keep thinking maybe I didn't express myself well enough or maybe they didn't understand what I was trying to say. Those are my fly by excuses!

  13. Ack - the mosquito! Really, really annoying. I try very hard to be a dog - not an elephant or a mosquito...but sometimes I tend to be the elephant, because some things are just awkward to talk about.

  14. Being a pastor's wife has cured me from talking about personal hurts with anyone other than very close friends--who are not part of my church--and my husband. But i have been a mosquito many times and i'm sure whoever was driving the car got sick of hearing me buzz!!!

    I am partial to cats. They purr.

  15. Janna, I know I've spent time thinking on it.

    Marybeth, ohhhh, huge dog fan here. And yes, a gnome would be fine. Looking forward to reading your daughter's poem tomorrow.

    Shaye, such wisdome in your words. I think it all comes down to knowing we're forgiven so we can forgive. That is what I was thinking about today. I listen b/c I've been listened to. But hopefully I also lovingly nudge when it is needed.

    Cindy, boundaries = relationship gold.

    Anne, leave it to me to label an insect w/ teeth that has none. :D Glad to do that for you.

    T.Anne, to no end, I've got you. Funny to remember being on the other end. I always tell my husband, "Well, you married me." :D

    Tess, I think what's interesting is how I claim I'm venting when I haven't even prayed about something. Then it gets interesting and perhaps maybe even a little boring/frustrating for God.

    Karen, I know my youngest has. She currently has four bites on her face and five on the backs of her arms and legs. Bathing her tonight was a little sad. I am protective of my children. Clobber mode, check.

    Sarah, I think there are few things I care about doing more than shining lights in people's hearts. I loved how you chose to word that.
    Blessings from America!

    Eileen, I'm forever grateful for what God does within me w/ His Spirit. I am a mess without it!

    Heather, I probably am too. That's why writing this post was a good reminder for me. It was like kicking myself in the keister.

    Diane, "fly by excuses" -- oh you are good!

    Katie, I can be the elephant too. They are so gosh darn perdy, those pink elephants. :D

    Jeanette, cats, really? Why you doin' that to me?

    Thanks for humoring me as I allow my thoughts to have a party on this blog. I never quite know what will come out, but I try to keep it calm.

    Here's to hoping your sleep is filled with dreams of forgiveness and standing side by side with those who've hurt you b/c God changes anything, anyone and everything. He changes everything!

    ~ Wendy

  16. I hate pink elephants, and I'm usually the one screaming, "It's right there! How can you not see it!" My husband helped me realize that I was the mosquito. Now, I do my best to make sure I address any pink elephants with love. I say what's on my heart to say, and then I move on. (That's not to say I'm always successful, but my husband is really good to swat at me when I revert back to mosquito mode.)


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