The vervet monkey was frantic! The window was not wide open enough and he could barely squeeze through the tiny space. As he pushed and shoved, bumping his little body against the window frame with every move, his face showed clear desperation. He was afraid.
I was standing at the door to my office, having stepped out briefly to have a chat with my team. I had left my back window open a crack,and that had been enough for the monkey to confidently come in to my office for no one knows what reason… the most edible item in the office was a glass of water, and there was no shortage of taps outside.
He was not so confident now that I had returned, and as he finally got the last of his limbs out the window, he had one final look back in relief and walked halfway up the branch of the tree outside the window. Then he turned back … to see whether I was following him.
I had remained standing at the doorway when I had opened the door and seen him .. prudently keeping away in case he panicked and attacked instead of escaping … in case he felt that he was cornered and that it was to be a matter of life or death.
Now that he was safely outside … safely in normal territory again, he was ready for any challenge. I walked up to my desk slowly, ultimately aiming for the window .. to close it and make sure he does not come back in again. We were equally afraid, even though I had stood my ground at the door … it was my territory after all…
He took my movement forward as a threat and stepped back further up the branch again.
Then, surprisingly he turned towards me yet again. He seemed to realize that I was not going to step outside … that the tree was his territory … that he was male and should not have been so threatened as to run away to that extent… and he was angry…
He drew closer to the window and braced himself with arms holding the upper branches in front of the window. Making furious threat-alarm barking noises, faced me squarely, and pulled the upper branches up and down in a menacing brace. … he was angry… and he was claiming his own territory up on that tree.
I stood my ground again, and looked straight up at him. I did not expect that he would break through the glass and I had managed to reach my window and close it. As the fear-filled yet courageous exchange drew to a close, I wondered why he felt he could challenge me … or that he had to prove to me that he had his own space. He really was very little. My only fear of him was in getting scratches and wounds which would not be very comfortable, but I certainly did not fear for my life… and he had wandered into my space after all. Yet he was the one aching to prove his manhood… his strength… his space… so much so that he had to turn back to prove it.
This brought me to thinking… it is when we are weak that we feel the need to prove our strength, and act in haste when challenged… and when we are strong we simply stay calm, watchful, prudent, and take the necessary precautions to stay safe, as we claim our territory back from our challengers.
The monkey was depending on a little understanding and much instinct. I had an advantage .. a little more knowledge, a little wisdom, and the calm assurance of my mental and physical abilities to escape should I feel the need to. I was more certain of my strength than him, and that gave me confidence to use my mere presence to command his exit from my space.
Which brings me to you. How often do you find yourself in the monkey’s place? Are you stepping into someone’s territory knowingly or unknowingly? Are you having to back-track from some place or plan hurriedly… suddenly realizing that you are in the wrong place and someone else stronger already owns that space … that plan … that post … that job … that life companion .. that project?
Or are you moving with calm assurance of your plan, your place in life… knowing that what you are doing is right, and you are doing it right where you ought to be because it is God’s place for you … God’s purpose for you in this life …? And when thieves and brigands try to interfere with that space, are you trusting that God himself will help you overcome them through His mere presence through His Holy Spirit in you … in your life? Are you trusting that no matter how ferocious the exchange, God will guide you through it with calm assurance, prudence, strength, wisdom, and safety, as you rightfully reclaim what is yours in God’s light?
I prefer to be me in that story … walking with calm assurance on God’s life path. What about you? Have you found your purpose in life in God’s light? Do you know what you should be doing in this life?
Copyright © 2012, Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved.
Find out more about vervet monkeys here.