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  • Writer's pictureCoco

Coco Calling No.199 - The Art of Knowing When Not to Complain

I’d like to share with you another of my parrot stories. And like most of them, it makes fun of humans. Are you sitting comfortably?

A human decided that he wanted to become a monk so he joined an ancient monastic order where the monks were only permitted to utter two words in a calendar year. Well, at the end of his first year, this human came before the Abbot to say his two words which were “Better food.” The Abbot understood and immediately hired a new chef, and the quality of the food improved. Another year passed, and then our human came before the Abbot again and this time uttered: “Warmer blankets.” The Abbot responded straight away and bought our human a thicker blanket. A further twelve months passed before our human appeared before the Abbot again to say his two words. And this time, he said: “I quit.” To which the Abbot replied: “Thank goodness!” and then held up a piece of card on which he’d written: “All you’ve done since you arrived here is complain!”

I reckon that even a parrot should offer some feather-felt sympathy towards this human because he clearly had a very difficult time in the monastery. But that shouldn’t apply to all humans because so many make a habit of complaining about all kinds of things instead of counting their blessings. They like to grumble and complain about their governments, their football teams, about prices, taxes and their salaries. They complain when a bus or a train is late or about other peoples’ driving. And you know, a wise parrot could tell them that every time they complain, they are causing both themselves and others stress. They’re not making the world a better place. Happiness and contentment come from learning to be grateful for whatever one has. Back in my native Africa where there is so much human poverty, many of the very poor have a smile on their face because they’ve learnt to be grateful for the present moment. And when they’ve allowed God to share that moment with them, a smile can turn into an outpouring of joy.

Call me what you will; a Confucius with feathers; an Einstein with a beak; a soothsayer with scaley feet; or a small insignificant bird that lives in North Devon. My message for you today is this: only complain about things when it is really necessary. Otherwise turn your angst into gratitude; your frustration into joy; and your temper into serenity. Because by doing this you’ll be following the example given to us all by Jesus Christ himself.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

(Colossians 3:15).

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Jesus Christ.”

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).


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