Many years ago, I went to Confession very angry with someone. I purposely choose a Priest that was also a friend because back then I was looking more for validation than to be free of my sins. I sat down ready for consolation in this situation...and instead I got this:
Priest: You know what you are Allison? A monkey with an orange.
Allison: Well, interesting Father, I've been called many things, but have to say this the first for this particular moniker.
Priest: Let me explain.
Allison: OH, please do!
Priest: There is a story that says in Africa, the natives use a technique to catch monkeys. They hollow out one end of a coconut and they put an orange inside. The monkey puts his hand in the coconut and when he makes a fist to grab the orange, he's trapped. The natives will pull a string attached to the
other end of the coconut and capture the monkey.
Allison: Something tells me you aren't going to support my not forgiving this person?
Priest: No, for your own good, and the good of that other person, I won't be backing you on this one.
My orange was truly refusing to even consider forgiving [**which, by the way, is not the same as reconciliation - we'll get to that over the next week week's as well]. I grabbed hold of that orange, and refused to let go. I became so determined that the orange was mine, I grew stubborn in my desire to be vindicated or validated. Then, over time I became so comfy with my orange, I forgot how to let go, or at times FEARED letting go. I didn't know what life would be like without my orange, we'd gotten so familiar, so close - how could I possibly let go. Finally, even as I grew weary of holding on to the orange, I still couldn't let go. In letting go, wouldn't I then be allowing that person victory - letting them "off the hook". No I could never do that, they hurt me, they were wrong, nope I needed that orange.
But really... I did not need it, and in allowing myself to let it go did not change the situation, it only changed how I felt towards it, and how I would finally begin to heal. More on that to come but for today, let us pray and ask God to help us determine the ORANGE in our life that we are so desperately holding on to. If you really ponder this - you may find there is a whole tree full of orange filled coconuts in your life. Trust me, you are not alone in that either!!