In my freezer are two fish. With heads. Eyes and everything. No scales, no guts. But heads.
It's freaking me out, yo.
I have a recipe that requires sole, bass, or pike. The grocery store didn't have any of these options, so I went to a new international market (would that be the NIM instead of the NIV? Ha!) near my house. Their sign said they had a fish market. A place where one might acquire fish. And you can't call yourself a fish market if you don't have some kind of selection, right?
Oh, they had a selection. Shark, bass, tilapia (tanks of live ones, too, in case you wanted to choose your dinner while it was still swimming), flounder, smelt. Smelt! That's what they feed the walrus at the zoo. I'm not eating it.
And all of them had heads. I didn't know what to do.
I thought to myself, "Self, you used to fish. You've seen fish with their heads on. You caught an eight pound walleye on Lake Erie! You can do this!"
And then I thought to myself, "Self, you never took the heads off. Daddy always did that for you. He put the worm on the hook for you, too. And you may have hooked that walleye, but he reeled it in because you were pouting over the fact that Dad yelled 'Fish on!' instead of you. Silly girl."
I've never had to take the head off of a fish. I'm sure I could; I'm sure I can. I've just never had to. Someone else has always done it for me. But, naturally, when I recall going fishing with my dad, I don't think of that. I think of what a tomboy I was. How I loved to fish! How I loved to sit and watch the bobber...
No. No, I didn't. I wanted to talk the whole time. My dad is, well, reticent. At least when it comes to fishing. So a lot of it was me wanting to talk, wanting to walk around, not wanting to sit and watch my bobber, wanting to reel in my line as soon as it floated a foot away. My dad was very patient with me. He eventually learned to let me use a lure. I thought it was because I'd improved at fishing. It was probably just to give me something... to...do. Maaaaaaan! I should have known! Funny how I remember things. Or misremember things.
Is that a word? It is now! Misremember™.
I remember people and places differently. I remember my accomplishments differently than they happened, I'm sure. It's only with careful scrutiny that I can look back and say, "Oh. That's not how it was. I didn't do that. Bummer."
So many things in my life have happened because of God. When I was going through events, it was all me. I did everything. I accomplished everything. It's only in hindsight that I realize that God did all those things. He did things for me, he did things through me. He knew who'd I'd be and what I'd have to do to get there. He had a hand in everything.
Maybe God even has a hand in how I remember them. Instead of remembering that I was a nuisance to my dad, I remember that I got to spend all day fishing with my dad. We'd wake up and it would just smell like a fishing day (if you grew up on a lake, you might know what I'm talking about). We'd get all our stuff, pack a lunch, and go find a place to fish. One time I dumped a whole bucket of minnows in the front seat of our car. And I don't recall him getting mad about it. He may have; he may have ranted and raved and yelled at me until he was hoarse, but I don't remember it. I remember laughing as we scooped the minnowed water out of the car and into a storm drain.
Our lives are full of events. Some are good, some are bad. Some involve fishy cars. We can't always tell as we're going through life, but God is present in everything. Some people choose to overlook him; some people need to focus on him just to get by.
Which are you? Do you see God in your past, or do you overlook him purposefully? And where does he fit in your future?
And, for Pete's sake, does anyone know how to cut up a fish?