At one stage, things got very intense. Tony took out a few days to fast and pray about the way ahead. He was desperate. In the middle of the fast he clearly heard God say, “I want you to take your kids elephant riding.” His first response was, “You’ve got to be joking. With all that’s going on? Things are serious. There is a lot of work to do.” When he realised God was serious, he started to make plans.
Chilla National Park was a two and a half hour drive down the mountain. We set off the next day to find an elephant. The girls were excited. I was really sick with a chronic ear infection. The last thing I felt like doing was rocking and rolling.
We arrived in Chilla and were told that the mother had just calved. Both mum and baby had been taken to Lachhiwala Park. That was half way back to Dehra Dun. It was a beautiful drive through forests so we didn’t mind. The baby had already been taught to raise its trunk to its forehead to say “Namaste.” It was so cute. It had been a while since the mother had been saddled up but she was more than willing. She bent down and allowed us to pull on her tail to get ourselves up. We set off into the teak jungle, rocking from side to side. Soon we were screaming and ducking, trying to avoid massive spiders and their webs hanging between the trees. My ears were so sore. I was feeling more motion sick by the minute but we had lots of fun.
When we got home Tony got a moment alone and asked God, “So, what was that all about?” God’s answer was, “I want you to store up memories for your children. Exciting stories they will pass on to their children and their children’s children. This is their inheritance.”
We had talked about our future and about our children’s future. It was settled that our move to India was forever. We were going to live as if it were a full stop. If God wanted to turn that into a comma, we would move on. If not, we were going to stay. That meant our children too. It was very unlikely that we were going to be able to leave them with much earthly inheritance. The future didn’t look bright as far as that was concerned.
So it was decided. We were going to plan lots of trips and adventures. The journey with our children was going to create a treasure chest of memories. In all of life’s intensity we were going to have to take time out to have fun. If we didn’t, all they would remember of us is that we lived busy lives. Their memories would be few. They would have no exciting stories to tell.
One of Tony’s favourite lines came from that elephant ride. “ Do you want to become a boring old fart and then die?”
I have a feeling that line may have originated with God who sits in heaven and laughs at all our intensity.