Goodbye Elephant

Several years ago, I wrote a book called A Love Story, My Journey to Motherhood. My book is about my 15-year journey to motherhood. It’s my story of tremendous loss, heartache, random acts of kindnesses, and miracles. After many revisions, I never felt like my book was quite right to submit for publication. There was something missing from my story. What was missing was the giant elephant that lived in the center of my home that nobody knew about. The elephant’s name was abuse, aka domestic violence.

A couple years ago, I became friends with a woman whom I met through my random acts of kindness website. She shared her story with me of how she left a longtime abusive marriage. I asked her what, after so many years, made her finally leave? She told me she left her husband the day her daughter married someone exactly like her abusive husband. I was speechless, as my greatest fear was that my own daughter would marry an abusive man. My friend’s story forever changed my life and the lives of my kids. Because of her transparency, I finally had the courage to leave my abusive marriage after 31 years. (Not long after she shared her story with me, her own daughter died; the violent domestic abuse situation she lived in played a role in that death.)

Due to the abuse that took place in our home, one of my children suffered from extreme anxiety and depression. I couldn’t get him the help he needed and was finally forced to make the gut-wrenching decision to send him out of state to a residential treatment facility. Putting him in treatment was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. By the grace of God, the treatment was a success and he is now thriving. On one of my visits to see my son, I wrote this poem and shared it with his peers.

“Goodbye Elephant…”

There’s a giant elephant
That lives in the center of our home.
We give it constant attention,
So it never feels alone.

Regardless of what we say or do,
It’s always lurking there,
Expecting our attention,
To show it that we care.

Our elephant is invisible,
But still it is plain to see.
It controls every aspect of our lives,
So we just let it be.

Sometimes it grows SO large
That we can barely breathe,
But still we just squeeze past it
And give it what it needs.

It’s been there so long,
Sometimes we forget it’s there.
Waiting ever patiently
To name it, if we dare.

Why don’t we just confront it
And tell it to leave our place?
Stop letting it control us
With its giant, ugly face?

If we named the elephant,
Would we fall apart?
Or would it give us strength
To begin a brand-new start?

We’ve given it so much power
For so many years,
Standing firm with its presence
Feeding on our fears.

Is it finally time
To let it stop controlling our lives?
To finally name that giant elephant
And then say our goodbyes?

And start a new beginning,
Living elephant-free.
As scary as that sounds,
How amazing it could be.

It would lose the power
It’s had for so many years.
It’s been the source of so much anger
And far too many tears.

By naming our giant elephant,
We could take away its power
And learn to stand fearless,
Never more to cower.

In the center of our home
Lived an elephant named abuse.
It had constant control over us
And held us tightly like a noose.

But now we’ve named our elephant
And our home is elephant-free,
To give us the air and space we need
To heal and just to be.

Our elephant no longer lives
In the middle of our house.
We named that giant elephant,
And then we kicked it out!

Now we have the power
To create the lives we want—
Lives forever free
Of our giant elephant!

At some point, I will submit, A Love Story, My Journey to Motherhood for publication. However, it will then be followed by a second book, possibly called Goodbye Elephant. My story is still unfolding, and as painful as my journey has been, I wouldn’t change any of it. My story has shaped me into the person that God has destined me to be—and I embrace my past, present, and amazing future!

I have been showered with so many random acts of kindnesses throughout my journey that I was inspired to start my own organization 12 years ago, called Duvall Random Acts of Kindness. My website encourages schools to start Random Acts of Kindness Clubs, and through my site, clubs have been started all over the world, including China. My organization reminds people to spread a little kindness wherever they go, as you never know when one simple act of kindness will forever change someone’s life. They changed mine, and I am forever grateful!

About the Author | Connie Berg

Connie Berg is a kindness warrior who loves spreading a little kindness wherever she goes, and she inspires others, both young and old, to do the same. She treasures time spent with friends and family and her two beautiful children. She loves photography, videography, writing poetry, and spending time outdoors in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She lives in Duvall, WA.

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3 comments to "Goodbye Elephant"

  • Mom and Dad

    We are so proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish by deciding to share your story. We trust that others who are in an abusive relationship might find the strength to do the same after reading your story. We love you very much.

  • celeste dorn

    Such a powerful testimony of your strength through brokenness and the faithfulness of God in the midst of your hard journey. thanks for your beautiful, raw vulnerability!

  • connie berg

    I am SO grateful for this opportunity to share my story and to inspire others to find the strength, to leave their abusive relationships. Doing regular Random Acts of Kindnesses, has been a huge part of my healing journey. If you need some inspiration, visit my website at http://www.duvallrak.com or visit me on facebook at Duvall Random Acts of Kindness. Make it an amazing day and don’t forget to spread a little kindness, wherever you go!