“Mommy, Mommy, look! That fish is walking on the grass? Look, Mommy!” My young son yelled.
“A. Fish. Is. Walking,” said my oldest daughter Rachel, twisting her face into a puzzled look.
Hannah ran over to me in amazement of the unbelievable sight.
“Mom! The fish’s walking on his head!”
I was puzzled by their statements. My eyes traced my daughter’s pointing arm to the patch of grass on the other side of the running creek, about twenty feet away. There, as plain as day, was a strange sight.
A seven inch sunfish, head down, tail straight up, moved up and down along the grass as if it was walking on its head.
Intrigued, we moved in closer to the creek to study the impossible. The fish inched slowly in slight jerky movements. Its tail wiggled. Being a nature lover, I had to get right up to the very edge of the narrow creek to get a better view. My kids all followed my example. The walking fish was on the grassy bank across the creek, a distance of about ten feet away.
Since I was taller I saw it first. A snake had a tight grip on the fish’s mouth and slithered along the grass, taking the fish somewhere to most likely eat it. I couldn’t tell how long the snake was, but the snake’s head was about the size of a quarter. I wish I had a camera with me.
“Do something, Mom!” one of the kids said. “Hurry! Go across that bridge and take the fish out of the snake’s mouth!”
“And throw it back in the water!” someone else said. I thought it funny no one else was volunteering for the job.
I looked at the small bridge about one-hundred feet away. I thought of actually running across it to save the fish, but then decided to leave it alone. I was not about to wrestle the snake or deprive the snake of its catch. I wondered how many fish had been captured that way.
I think about that rare sight whenever I drive by the creek, over twenty years later. It really did look like the fish was walking along the grass on its head.
How often do we make a judgment about a situation without really knowing all the facts, but judging only by what we think we know.
I heard a story of a man who took a train with his two little boys. The little boys ran up and down the aisle shouting and climbing up and down the vacant seats while their father sat in his seat looking out the window; completely oblivious of the other passenger’s annoyance and threatening glares.
Finally, someone just had to say something when the roughhousing continued.
“Sir,” the passenger said angrily, “your children are behaving terribly, annoying all the passengers on board. What kind of a father are you to allow your kids to behave like this while you just sit here and ignore them?”
“Oh, I’m very sorry,” said the father who appeared to be in some kind of a trance, “they don’t naturally behave that way. We just buried their mother today, and they are having a rough time accepting it, and frankly so am I.”
The passengers were stunned by the man’s response. Frown’s disappeared as everyone’s heart went out to this man and to the children.
Just like they say you cannot judge a book by its cover, you cannot always judge a situation by a person’s behavior.
I once heard a famous radio preacher say that one year he had a terrible ear infection. Nothing seemed to soothe his agonizing ear ache. Finally, someone suggested an unusual remedy. Pour a dropper full of 100 proof vodka in each ear.
The preacher did not have any vodka at home. Not wanting to bring attention to himself, the preacher decided to drive over to a neighboring town. As the preacher walked out of the small town’s only liquor store holding the bottle of vodka in a brown paper bag, he still feared one of his congregation members would see him and think the worst. The vodka worked its magic and his ear cleared up within a day or two.
It certainly would have set a few tongues wagging if anyone saw him.
Too often we see what looks like one thing, but do not always know the circumstances. I have been guilty of that myself.
I have learned on several occasions that things are not always as they appear.
Matthew 7 1-5 “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote(speck) that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
Galatians5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”