Posted by: mikenicholsblog | January 25, 2012

strawberries and monks and tigers, oh my!

It may have never happened to you, but this morning I awoke from a fitful night of sleeping, and in a not-so-good mood. I was tired, and my mind was swirling. During the day I had the opportunity to listen to friends that shared not-so-good stories as well. Then I had someone tell me about how computer problems were creating not-so-good times in their office. It is only January 26th and all of us could list lots of not-so-good stories as we have ventured into a new year. Thanks to the Father’s grace, my not-so-good mood turned reflective and better by reading one of my favorite stories. On the assumption that you sometimes get caught in those not-so-good moods, I thought this story would give you cause for reflection.

In the book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, by Brennan Manning, there is a humorous, but thought-provoking story about the monk who was chased by a tiger.

The monk raced to the edge of a cliff, glanced back, and saw the growling tiger about to spring. The monk spotted a rope dangling over the edge of the cliff. He grabbed it and began shimmying down the side of the cliff out of the clutches of the tiger. Whew! Narrow escape. The monk then looked down and saw a quarry of jagged rocks five hundred feet below. He looked up and saw the tiger poised atop the cliff with bared claws. Just then, two mice began to nibble at the rope. What to do?

The monk saw a strawberry within arm’s reach, growing out of the face of the cliff. He plucked it, ate it, and exclaimed, “Yum! That’s the best strawberry I’ve ever tasted in my entire life.” If he had been preoccupied with the rock below (the future) or the tiger above (the past), he would have missed the strawberry God was giving him in the present moment.

In this very moment, you may have some regrets about the past, and anxiety about the future. And what you are causing for yourself are some not-so-good moods. After reflecting on the tiger and the monk, I am reminded that we only are guaranteed this moment, and to give it away is foolish. Psalms 90:12 is an insightful Scripture to me. Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (NLT). What you and I miss with our preoccupations with yesterday and tomorrow can never be retrieved. Wisdom available from God can help us live in the moment, and realize how brief our lives really are.

Those who get lost in my life as I look back at that tiger and ahead at those jagged rocks, are family and friends that I care for deeply. I am sure you can relate. Moments matter! Strawberries may not be in season for you and I right now, but what is stopping us from having some strawberry moments? I have no idea what you are facing, but I am sure if you slow down and start looking for God’s strawberries, you can begin to enjoy each moment. You can’t re-live yesterday or control tomorrow, but finding the strawberry in this moment can turn a not-so-good mood into a reason to smile.


  1. I just finished reading the Ragamuffin Gospel. Changed my perspective on MANY things! Including how my Savior loves me. 🙂

    • Aimee,

      Great book….Keep growing and have Jeff who is now an MBA(and not studying so much) read it too….


  2. Mike,
    At first glance at your title “Strawberries and monks and tigers, oh my”, I laughed inside for a second. Then I thought you had cracked up. Then I thought, I better read on, there’s more to this.
    Thanks Mike, I needed that … at this precise moment.
    I read our weekly reading. Some things stood out to remind me of perspective.
    I haven’t been overly zealous about a performance review coming up in two hours. I could only think of what problems we’ve encountered rather than what we have accomplished.
    I will try to think of this –{{Strawberries and monks and tigers, oh my}} during my review, and hopefully not bust a gut, meanwhile enjoying a strawberry or two.

    Thank you Mike for that perspective!

    Bill A.

    • Bill,

      Hope the review went well. Just keep walking in Christ as you are seeking too…..tomorrow will take care of itself….

      I can tell you have a sincere walk.. and I enjoy working with you.

      Walk with the King.

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