Better Than a Rubber Monkey
My infant son has a lot of toys. They’re not sparkling with newness, by any means. No, they are the leftovers—the survivors, really—of his two older sisters. All of them hold their own stories. My oldest daughter favored some, my second daughter preferred others. But all of them were abandoned after years of child growth and development.
One of my son’s current favorites is an orange rubber monkey that squeaks when you squeeze it. Basically, it’s a glorified dog toy. But by golly, he loves the thing. He grasps it in his tiny hand, refusing to let go, as he lifts it above his head and brings it crashing back down. Over and over and over.
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
There is only one reason it ever drops from his fingers.
The other day, he was sitting in his little baby chair, smashing the monkey to squeaking bits. I sailed over to him, unclasped the buckles that chain him down, and lifted him from his seat.
“I love you,” I cooed as I brought him to my chest.
Without hesitation, my son sent his cherished toy plummeting to the floor.
“What an honor.” I rolled my eyes in jest. “I’m better than a rubber monkey.”
The words themselves seemed insignificant. Better than a rubber monkey.
But, after I thought about them, the meaning of those words was huge.
My son valued that monkey more than anything in the world. And he valued me even more.
He wanted me more than his greatest want.
How often do I treat my Father that way? What rubber monkeys do I cling to? And when was the last time I dropped those earthly treasures so I could reach for my Father?
In this season of Lent, that’s exactly what we’re challenged to do—to identify our most cherished valuables, then drop them to get closer to our Father.
If we stayed focused on those squeaking rubber monkeys in our lives, we might miss the moments when our Father sails into the room. We might miss it when He tries to unclasp us from the buckles that chain us down. We might even be distracted when He lifts us up and brings us closer to His Sacred Heart.
By clinging to our valuables, we let the Invaluable slip through our fingers.
We’re at the halfway point in Lent, folks, and the rubber monkey I dropped this season was watching TV after the kids go to bed. At first, the transition was rough—uh, hello, the third season of The Man in the High Castle is supposed to be released soon and I’m still working my way through The Crown. I mean, c’mon, priorities people!
But after my husband and I teamed up and decided to spend our nights screen-free, I prefer it now. I don’t feel lacking like I thought I would. Instead, I feel much richer—richer in time, in connection with my husband, in personal pursuits. I’m diving headfirst into my life, not Julianna Crane’s (but seriously, what’s going to happen to her???) I’ve read books, beta read for fellow writers, exercised, and I’ve even gotten to talk to my husband. *gasp*
What about you? How has your Lenten journey been treating you? Have you shown God that He is better than the rubber monkeys in your life? I’d love to hear about your journey (and support and encourage you along the way), so feel free to share your experience in the comments section!