Hunting For Elephants

Elephants are everywhere. From lamps to wallpaper borders, they're hot today! The most devastating of all, however, are those big, smelly ones that author Marlane Renner says are right "in our living room."

In her book, The Elephant in My Living Room, Renner uses this vivid metaphor to help us understand the giant problems in our lives that everyone but us can see. Difficult problems that park themselves in the middle of our lives can result from something as devastating as a rape or as all-too-common as a dysfunctional family. Whatever the reason behind it, an elephant is a big stinking mess whose odor can permeate our entire lives.

Marlane Renner was raped at the age of 12 by a stranger, and her subsequent anger and mistrust of men colored her life from that day forward. The elephant had taken up residence in the middle of her living room. Unfortunately elephants are long-lived and can survive in nearly any habitat that has adequate quantities of food. An feed him Renner did. She spent years running from close relationships and her temper was something her family learned how to avoid. On the surface she was a successful teacher married to a prominent surgeon. She enjoyed a myriad of cultural events as well as volunteering in the community - - the portrait of a successful, well-adjusted woman, right?

Unfortunately, no. Until she learned to deal with the elephant, she could not enjoy the fullness of life that should have been hers.

Sometimes the subsequent effects of pain and tragedy can seem insurmountable. For example, the after-effects of abuse, road rage, or terrorist acts can cause us to react in devastating ways. Anger, for instance, whether held in -- resulting in a higher probability for heart attacks or ulcers; or let out at others -- resulting in severed relationships or even abuse -- is one of those "elephants" that may not even be apparent to us as a problem.

The 20-page study guide -- The Elephant Hunt -- included with The Elephant in My Living Room will help you evaluate where you are and enable you to finally deal with what you find lurking -- right in the middle of your living room. As Michael Little, president of the Christian Broadcasting Network states, "The author’s newly found and refreshing outlook on life makes her story an encouragement for all of us."

The Elephant in My Living Room
by Marlane Renner, published by Evergreen Press (January 2003), 144 pages, PB, ISBN 1-58169-110-6, $18.00 retail, distributed by major trade distributors.