On Craving People and Elephant Friends

There are some people in my life I crave.

They are the people who bring me joy and peace and depths of love I would never know without them. Just being in their presence feeds my soul.

Now that I am more of a nomad, I meet more and more of these people. While I am out and about in Kentucky and around the world, they just seem to come into my life, like precious gifts from God.

But, I am hundreds of miles away from the people I crave most right now.


“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”

Jim Carrey (2014 Commencement Speech)


Elephants are extremely socially connected creatures. Their complex social structure has multiple tiers: family unit, bond groups, and clans. What makes them so social is their distinct personalities. There are timid elephants and trailblazing elephants and creative elephants. Some researchers are discovering that elephants even have lifelong friends.

When one of their own dies, they mourn.

They perform burial rituals to the body of the dead elephant. They form protective circles around the body and cover the body with leaves and dirt. They gently stroke the body with their trunks to process their emotions and honor their dead.

Every year they come back to the bones of their loved one. They stroke the bones the way they affectionately stroke the jaws of their living family. Sometimes when they pass the bones of an elephant they didn’t even know, they do the same, as if it were one of their own.


Mourning is not just for the dead. Sometimes I mourn over good seasons of life or past relationships or lost places. Mourning is an essential part of letting go and moving on.

The people whose presence I crave are not always near me. Sometimes I think of the moments we shared and the times when they were a 10-minute drive away. There is a season for everything and this season I am in the back hills of Kentucky with new people I am growing to crave.

The times are richer and sweeter when I see my elephant friends. I have mourned the loss of parts of relationships that are stored in the memory folds in my brain. Distance and extended periods of time separated make love grow deeper.

It doesn’t always make sense, but life just seems to be like that.

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