Mine! Mine! Mine!

The line I recall from the film “Finding Nemo,” is  the sea gulls greedily swooping down and crying, “Mine!  Mine!  Mine!”  Recently while fresco-dining at the coast I had left over fish and chips which, for entertainment purposes, I fed to the sea gulls.  (Didn’t see the sign telling me not to–honest.)  And sure enough the larg,e stronger birds quickly established and defended their territory by chasing away and nipping at other smaller birds, all the while crying, “Mind!  Mine!  Mine!”

I guess humans aren’t so different from sea gulls.  I see gangs graffiti wooden fences–I call it lifting their legs like puppy dogs to mark their territory.  I see church members, become irked if anyone dares sit in their preferred pew.  At the pool, I became a part of this when a pushy man tried to commandeer the lane in which I was doing laps.  I was here first!  Who does he think he is?  For days we played tug of war with the space until one day I saw myself becoming as obnoxious as he.  The next morning when he arrived, I smiled and asked him if he preferred the middle lane, and that I would gladly give it to him.  Everyday since I greet him with a cheery hello and move out of his lane.  While he hasn’t become my bosom buddy, he does smile and acknowledge my presence.  Progress?  I don’t know.  Noble?  I doubt it.  But what I did discover is the lane to his right is no better or worse in which to work out.  And I do feel much more refreshed at the end of my routine than when I battled him for rulership of the other lane.

This week a woman won a humungous portion of a lottery ticket–the biggest in lottery history.  She claims her prize was all hers, though she’d been a part of a pool of workers at a McDonald’s.   Whether or not her claim is true, I don’t know, but my mind returned to my day at the beach when I heard the  sea gulls cry, “Mine!  Mine!  Mine!”    To gain the whole world and lose one’s soul?

They say money change people but does it?  Isn’t it the same old problem of the need to mark one’s territory, to protect what we perceive is ours?  As big as the biggest lottery win in history or as little as forty-five minutes swimming in my favorite lane, is it all prompted by fear or by greed? The gulls I understand.  They don’t know when the next dumb tourist will come along and share her lunch.  As for gangs,  what do you think?    Please share your insights with me into this very curious phenomenon.

I do know when I consider the eternal question I remember an old hymn, “This world is not my home; I’m just a passing through.  The treasure I laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.  The angels beckon me from Heaven’s open door and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”  Yeah, I’m just a pilgrim, a traveler, in this land.  I brought nothing into it and I will take nothing out of it.  My territory is in a better place.

The next time I am tempted to defend my territory on the highway, in church or wherever, I’ll sing a little hymn and quote the words of John 14:1-3 Rizzo paraphrase, “Do not worry about marking your territory or someone straying into your space.  Trust me, my child.  I have a very special place for you that will blow your mind.  You wait; you’ll see, when I come back for you, we will be together forever and ever–in My territory.


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