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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Corrie

What's a Monkey's Wedding?

Updated: Jan 24, 2023

Special Guest Blogger, member of our church family and author on grief and loss, Andrea Corrie, brings our latest blog post. Thank you Andrea for sharing this with us!

The recent weather we have experienced reminded me of the following:

A while ago, my friend Linda, knowing I am a lover of idiomatic phrases, asked me if I had heard the expression, ‘a monkey’s wedding.’

“A monkey’s wedding? Whatever does that mean?” I asked.

“It describes the sun shining at the same time as it is raining”, she told me. “It’s also known as a sun shower.”

It is difficult to establish the origin of the saying, but it appears to have its roots in South Africa and to have many variations around the world, with the animal getting married sometimes being a fox, rat, jackal or tiger.

Regardless of the actual description, I think the expression is a good descriptor for how we might feel about faith. Some days we get up, the sun is shining and all is right with the world. “Oh, good!” I think. “It is going to be a lovely day”. But if it is dull, grey and raining, I might say, “Right, it’s another wet dog walk this morning then,” and feel glum about it. Our hearts and minds are easily influenced by what we see outside the window.

But what we need to remember is this: it is our faith that should influence the circumstances of the day, rather than the other way round. Christ’s light shines whatever the weather, whether we are happy or sad, and His light can be found in even our darkest moments.

Although, if we get to see an occurrence of the monkey’s wedding, how fantastic is that?! The hand of God that spins the galaxies, that knows all the stars by name, can make the sun shine at the same time as it is raining (not to mention creating rainbows, but that’s another story …)

The sun shower is also a perfect analogy for the way we live with grief, as we simultaneously have the joy of our lives tempered by the sadness of loss. In the early stages of grief, it is hard to imagine ever feeling happy, carefree, or amused again, but as time passes, and especially if we can hold on tight to faith, and trust that things will get better, the darkness of those early days gradually begins to lighten. I have written much about the mourning light as I see it from my own perspective, and how it gradually increases in intensity and power to illuminate my day-to-day life. This is tempered by those rain showers which come along and set me back from time to time. And yes, they can definitely be like the monkey’s wedding! There are times when I know I am presenting to the world a contented demeanour, and yet I may be weeping inside when remembering those whom I have lost. At such times, I find solace in being outside in nature, often talking to God, usually silently, as I walk with the dog and enjoy, for example, being at Knightshayes or up at Haddon Hill on Exmoor.

There is one particular spot at Knightshayes where I feel especially close to God. In this place, as the image shows, is a large beech tree with a bench beneath it, and as I take time to sit and gaze across the fields, looking up at the sky, I feel His presence comforting me, whatever the weather is doing. (Though I have to say it is preferable to be in sunshine). The tree offers shelter and a sense of protection as I sit beneath the canopy.

Similarly, a walk at Haddon Hill with its wide-open spaces and beautiful views provides what I feel on my heart as a Godly connection between the actual and the ethereal. This never fails to calm my mind, clarify my thoughts, and lift my spirits.

All of us live the monkey’s wedding to some degree. We perhaps need to retell ourselves that we can always turn to faith, whether times are good or bad. Through our conversations with God, we can possibly better understand that we need both the sunshine and the showers in our lives.

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