A friend of mine told me this story some years ago. Once there was a man who lived and worked in Africa. It came to pass that he befriended a herd of elephants who had gathered in the area.

The elephants eventually wandered off into the jungle. Some time later, the man died.

Without any message or communication, the elephants traveled to the place where the man had lived. They remained there for some time, before returning to their natural habitat. Through some mysterious means, they knew of the passing of the man who had become their friend, and they went to mourn his passing.

I believe we have much to learn from our four-legged friends. Not only do humans have memories, but so do others among God’s creatures with whom we share this planet. Such was the case with this herd of elephants.

This story reminds us that we are capable of nonverbal communication, and that we don’t need words to create memories. Memory is a special gift. When we remember, we recall the formational moments of joy and sorrow, sunlight and showers, dawn and dusk that mark each day.

One of the tragedies in life is when people lose their memories. When there is no memory, there is no story, no recollection of the sacred moments that have nourished our life.

(originally published May 18, 2016)