Not My Monkeys; Not My Lawn

“I was ready to spit nails! We were going to put up a barricade – that would show them I meant business!”

That’s what she was going to do. She had been mowing a parcel of lawn that did not belong to her. It is town property; but in the spirit of community she had always mowed it and tried to keep it looking nice. But then …

Her neighbor has a business – perfectly legal. Some of his customers have been parking on that piece of lawn, and they actually left a deep rut in the grass which made it more challenging to mow. She had politely asked her neighbor to speak with the offending customer, but the neighbor didn’t want to get involved. “You speak to him,” he said to her. So she did … sort of. She put up a sign that said: “DON’T PARK ON THE GRASS. Thank you.” Somebody moved the sign. That’s when the idea came up for a barricade or two. That would show them.

She was upset. Lines were drawn and the strategy was in play. And then, it occurred to her.

That’s not my lawn! I don’t have to mow it. I don’t have to maintain it. Actually, I don’t have to worry about it! And suddenly, she was free. In fact, as she related the story to me, she was almost giddy with joy.

Remember that passage from The Sermon on the Mount: “Take the log out of your own eye …“? (Matthew 7:5.) In this case, the “log” wasn’t so much a harsh judgment of another. It had more to do with taking on responsibility for something that wasn’t hers to worry about in the first place. Have you ever done that?

It’s not in the Bible; but it’s a great saying that amplifies the text from Matthew with a slightly different twist. It goes like this: Not my monkeys; not my circus!

You can save yourself a lot of trouble today if you check yourself before putting up barricades or trying to control events and people over which and whom you have no responsibility. If they aren’t your monkeys, don’t worry about them. And once you get some of the logs out of your eyes you will be amazed at how much easier it is to see.

A blessed Tuesday.

Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.