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  • Writer's pictureSally&Mike McCarley

It is Just a Banana!

We were missionaries in Hawaii once.

It was all the things you would want. Fabulous smells, wonderful fruit, great friends fantastic food, sunshine every day, the beach—every day, a pool--every day, a great church, good friends, surfing for my daughter Jen, working in the pregnancy clinics, Bible studies, intercession groups and mentoring; just a great time.

I was naive in many areas—a total innocent. I thought I was wise. I thought I knew the ways of the world. I had walked through a lot of things in my life. But in some areas I was an innocent baby.

We were all out for a drive with a friend. The mountains of Oahu are beautiful. The jungle in the mountains and then on the far side are just breath taking. I noticed that there were fences in the jungle. Hard to see but there nonetheless. Pretty far back from the road. We came upon a whole field of bananas. I asked my friend to stop so I could take a picture. I already had the camera out the window. She stopped. I jumped out. She said something but I didn’t hear her.

I headed for the first, real, live, reach-out-and-touch-it banana tree I had ever seen. About that time 4 guys—big, burly guys with AK-47’s stepped out from the jungle. They scared me to pieces. They looked something like you would see in a movie. A two-handed grip on the weapon, arms bent so the weapon went diagonally across their chests. A nonchalant appearing stance which I knew was not. One of the guys said something. My pidgin was not very good yet so I had no idea what he said.

I, in total naivety--I use that word instead of stupidity because it makes me feel better about myself—said, “I am not going to steal any bananas, I promise.”You can guess the response. In total “tough-guy-threatening-voice” he replied, “we aren’t protecting the bananas—get back in your car.”

I did not offer to take his picture though I thought about it as a type of comic relief but instead I scurried (as fast as any fat woman you have ever seen can scurry) back into the car. Everyone else was already there and we took off. My friend had to tell me what they were guarding--pot. Apparently Hawaii grows a lot of it! She was so scared she started giggling and couldn’t stop. We laughed and drove at top speed all the way back home.

The thing is so many people act like those armed guards. Someone comes up to you and wants to ask you something innocent—where did you get your hair done? What do you think about_______? They are commenting on the attractive, decorative things we use to hide who we really are. Like the banana tree border around the fields of pot. It could be anything and out comes the “big guns”. We are going to protect our hearts.

We pounce, we speak harshly, we are brusque, we wound. What are we protecting? Probably something we shouldn’t be holding onto anyway.The hardest people to get to know are those who have the most pain inside. They hold onto it like a cash crop. They protect it. They shut people out. They attack “just in case”. In all reality they want to be set free but don’t know how.

What are you protecting? God wants to heal it.

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