I cut the head off a fish the other day. My fingers still smell kind of peculiar.
I wouldn’t exactly call butchering a helpless, flopping fish my kindest act ever, but I had a good reason.
We wanted to eat it.
Last December, Saul and I bought a sad little lake cabin. It desperately wanted to be brought back to life, so little by little, that’s what we did. We tore out carpet, filled in all the mouse doggy-doors and painted every surface of the place.
I can’t even count the hours I spent on a ladder, paintbrush in hand, singing at the top of my lungs to my favorite worship songs.
Little by little the tiny cottage came back to life. And so did I.
I hadn’t realized how desperately I needed a place to think and relax and heal from the post-trauma I was feeling from my battle with breast cancer.
By May, the place was ready to go.
We have spent many blissful days looking out over the water, fishing pole in hand. It’s our happy place.
Or at least it was. Until I cut the head off that fish.
My kids are awesome at catching fish. I am not awesome at filleting them.
So I googled it. “Easy peasy,” the 75 year old man on the video assured me. “Just takes a lil’ practice.”
So I sat on the dock and tried it again and again and again. And yes, I learned that you don’t actually cut the head off the fish.
At some point I gave up.
I cleaned up the mess and the kids and I headed back up to the house to throw in a frozen pizza.
The problem is, I didn’t clean up the whole mess.
I missed one little fish head that my son, Ben, had been playing with. (Ahhh 7 year old boys.)
When we went back to the dock later that evening, we were greeted by a 4 foot snake who was not interested in giving up her dinner.
She slinked off the dock the moment she saw us, but hovered nearby in the water to watch us.
Jordan (that’s the teenager), immediately broke our “No electronics” rule to google what type of threat we may be facing.
Nothing venomous, but as we sat together on the couch that night, we all were a little despondent. None of us had any big urge to go back to the dock. Ever.
The next morning, instead of running down to the water, we all kind of hovered near the house.
I was sitting having a quiet conversation with God, basically begging Him to help me make this place our happy place once again. God I know they are all your creatures, but some of them scare me. Please help me see this situation the way You see it so I can bring joy back to this place for my kids.
An hour later, the boys and I treaded lightly down to the pedal boat and headed for our favorite fishing hole.
That was when I started talking. I had no idea where the words were coming from. They just sort of spilled out.
“Her name is Lucy. She was out looking for food and when she realizes that we’re not going to give her any, she’ll go away, but for now she’s our special lake pet.”
And just like that, the whole situation was diffused. Reframed.
We spent the rest of the weekend playing in the water and sitting on the dock and NOT filleting any more fish.
A few days later I was spilling this story to a friend when she got a funny look on her face. “Lucy? You named her Lucy because it’s short for Lucifer, right?”
I was dumbfounded. It had never occurred to me that her name was short for Lucifer because I wasn’t the one who came up with it. It just popped out of my mouth.
But it fits.
The enemy will always try to steal, kill and destroy what you love… the things that bring you joy.
But isn’t it nice to know that God hears our silent pleas and is happy to come to the rescue? And there is no snake, big or small, that He can’t slay.