The large male baboon came right in our patio door, up across our bed, scaled a partition wall, and sauntered down on to the kitchen counter. We were standing right there, amazed and a bit afraid!
Around the Drakensberg Mountains there are many troops of baboons. They meander the hillsides looking for anything edible. They are not aggressive unless attacked; it has been rumored that three baboons can take down a leopard.
Recently, my husband took me away for a two-night get away at a chalet in the Giant’s Castle Nature Reserve. It was lovely. The first night we had beautiful clear weather and got to fit in lots of hiking, drinking in God’s beauty in those magnificent mountains.
The next morning we got our surprise visit from this large baboon who rummaged through out kitchen shelves, helping himself to some Scandinavian knekkebrød and Fisherman’s Friend lozenges. Haha! He promptly spit out the lozenges, but the plastic bag with the knekkebrød interested him enough to take along as he scooted out the patio door.
We were sorry that we didn’t get it on camera, but joked around that the guy had quite the nerve to come maneuvering in while we were standing right there. The incident caused us to be more cautious to close the door completely as we moved in and out.
The next morning, I was sitting having my Bible time, when all of a sudden there was a loud sound at the patio door. The baboon was back and tried to open the closed door. Sadly for him the door was too hard for him to pull. No more knekkebrød for you, buddy.
I wonder how many “doors of the mind” we leave open, allowing the baboons of ingratitude in. They slip in and start rummaging through everything in your life – “What is this?! This is no good! There isn’t enough of the good stuff here for me! I’ll take this and this, and no, I won’t say thank you or acknowledge anyone else. This is all about me.” An unexamined heart and mind is no little thing. The baboon of ingratitude has to be kept outside!The baboon seemed so matter-of-fact, but he was a thief. So is ingratitude – he steals away the good things you have all around you. The things he leaves are polluted with his dirty feet, hands, and bottom; he coats your wonderful lozenges with saliva so they’re no good anymore.
That baboon had been in that chalet many times to grab things; his fear of authority had been overcome by the pleasure of his scavenging habit. Even so, ingratitude can make a home in your mind, feeling that all your stuff is his stuff, caring not one bit that neither God nor you want him soiling your thoughts.
As the plaque on the chalet wall instructed us:
“You feed the baboons.
We shoot them.”
We were not trying to feed the baboons. We were getting ready to have breakfast and I had not even gotten the flatbread out of the plastic bag. 🙂 But the owners of the chalet knew that baboons must be kept out, must not be encouraged, and if need be, must be shot dead. So it is with ingratitude – keep it out, do not feed it, and if it is making a habit of entering your mind at will, you need to shoot it dead.
Close the Door to Ingratitude?
You get to choose what you think about. I know you feel like you can’t really control your thoughts, but that is a falsehood. You decide. Through the habit of ingratitude, you may have nurtured a network of neural pathways into your brain. It feels like your fault-finding, irritated, complaining thoughts jump in quickly and automatic and you have to just hang on. Not so. Take courage. You do what you do … because you think what you think … because you want what you want. 🙂 You can, with God’s help, choose differently.
Instead let there be thanksgiving.
When we decide, only with Christ’s strength, to forge a gratitude neural pathway, we have to close the door to the baboons of ingratitude. It will try to push its way in, but you must see him as the enemy and not a furry friend who needs feeding.