In all of life the thing I’d like to see…an elephant is the thing for me.
In Lord of the Rings, one of the things Samwise Gamgee, Frodo’s gardener, and sidekick wanted to see was an elephant.
In earlier times the phrase ‘To see the elephant’ didn’t carry a good connotation. It meant the gaining of knowledge, often through natural experiences both good and bad.
People heading across the prairie in the wagon train at times would encounter setbacks that stopped them in their journey further. When asked why they hadn’t gone on the reply would simply be, ‘we saw the elephant.’
It wasn’t a small undertaking to head west in a wagon train. The hopes and dreams of people for gold or land and the chance of a better life not hindered by the unfair advantage of life in the east called loudly.
Seeing the elephant could be compared to the phrase Jesus used when he stressed how necessary it was for people, especially his disciples, to count the cost.
28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
30 Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.”