Mark Nepo uses the example of a monkey trap to illustrate how much more can happen if we go through life with our hands open. A monkey trap is made by punching a hole in a coconut just large enough for a monkey to put its hand into, then placing a handful of rice inside so that when the monkey tries to remove its now fisted hand clutching the rice he can't. His only escape is to open his hand and let the rice go.
Nepo says hearing this finally helped him to understand "the tense ritual of rejection that exists between my mother and me. Like any child, I've always wanted her love and approval, but suddenly I realized that this has been my rice--the more it has not come, the tighter my grip. My hunger for her love has been master of my reach, even in other relationships. I have been a caught monkey, unwilling to let go."
He concludes, "The truth is that food is everywhere. Though the stubborn monkey believes in its moment of hunger that there is no other food, it only has to let go for its life to unfold. Our journey to love is no different.....For love is everywhere."
This is why I chose the picture of the monkey embracing the kitten, an unusual source of love for a monkey. Once we realize that we're trying to limit our need for love by what WE think will satisfy it and instead open our hearts to the love that surrounds us, we will no longer be trapped by our appetites. Instead we'll be open to the love that God provides in ways we'd otherwise miss.
Is there something you need to let go of?
Father, open my eyes, my hands, my heart to what You want to give me.
Link to scripture: Philippians 4:19