May 8, 2022: Screaming Monkeys
I am a recovering “fixer.” I know, I should stop.
I want to help people. I want to relieve their troubles. It hurts me to see others hurting. This is especially true if it's a loved one or friend. (Maybe you are a fixer too.)
In many cases, "fixing" is just a desire, it's not necessarily a real possibility. There's a difference between lending a helping hand and "fixing."
You’ve probably heard the phrase “he has a monkey on his back.” This typically refers to a worrisome problem someone is carrying around. (Those are the kinds of things I want to "fix.") Sometimes my son will add, “not my monkey, not my circus,” which for him means, “I’m not getting involved with that; it’s not my worry.” (He's a recovering fixer too.)
We all face situations where our fate is out of our hands and where we see no way to change a situation. We've probably all had to deal with those back-hugging monkeys.
I imagine this worry as a gangly-armed, screaming monkey clinging to that person’s back. I see it as crying out for attention, being unruly. Maybe he is throwing bananas. Maybe hurling spitballs. The noise is deafening.
In those situations, the only way to deal with a screaming monkey may be through prayer. ("Fixing" probably isn't going to do the trick at that point.)
Although I don't like it, I long ago accepted the value of trouble. In my younger days, my family called upon me as a prayer warrior to pray through whatever strife (or screaming monkeys) they faced.
Eventually, I saw how some of those monkeys were often the linchpin they needed to propel them to their highest and best. At one point, I stopped praying. I didn't want to play God. Who was I to decide which troubles were good and which were bad? (This was my thinking at the time.) Of course, I didn't give up prayer forever.
If we can't fix them, what can we do with those monkeys on their backs?
I recently began using visualization for screaming monkeys.
First I have to recognize “this is not my monkey.” (Seriously, that can be the hardest part.) Second, I have to realize, "I can't fix this." Then I visualize a hand picking up that screaming monkey and placing it into the hands of the God (or however you see the Divine).
As soon as I do, that screaming, crying, unruly monkey calms down. It becomes peaceful. I tell myself, "it’s in God's hands now." I console myself by knowing that thing I cannot fix is now up to God. I don’t have to contrive a solution or jump in to fix something that doesn't need fixing. (I'm not perfect at this!)
Whose unruly, screaming monkeys are you trying to tame? Let go of those extra worries. They are not yours to carry. Turn those screaming monkeys over to God. Let him find the perfect solution.