When I was two years old, I was in a bad accident. From what I have been told, I was playing by or on a tractor that was hooked to a trailer full of dirt. The owner of the tractor didn’t see me when he started up the tractor and he pulled forward. The trailer full of dirt rolled over me. I spent the next month in the hospital, recovering after undergoing two surgeries. This was in the days before cell phones, obviously. My dad was away on a hunting trip, and he didn’t find out about the accident until he returned home. He and his buddies had shot a bear, and they were bringing it home with them. I can’t imagine what that must have looked like...was it tied to the top of the car? “Harry and the Hendersons?” Who knows! But I do know that my dad said once he heard about my accident, the bear was the last thing on his mind. It was no longer important.
I share this because of a client I had in my chair today. Being a stylist gives me so many opportunities to hear people’s stories. As my client and I shared about our lives, we hit on a common thread between us…he also likes to write, although he writes fiction. He said he is stuck on the story he is writing. Then he shared a true story with me…his dad died this last year. But his dad died in a way that showed me the Divine in action. His dad had always wanted to go salmon fishing in Alaska. He and his wife had finally made the trip, and they were on a boat with friends. His dad told them he was sea sick, and wanted them to turn the boat around, but they didn’t want to, so they continued fishing. His dad caught five silver salmon that day, and then he went down into the boat to lay down. That was where he took his last breath, dying of a heart attack at the age of 75. When my client told me this, I had to stop cutting his hair and I looked at him in the mirror…he and I both agreed together in that moment, what a way to go—doing what he loved! As we later talked on about the fictional story he was writing, I told him I thought maybe he was stuck because he was supposed to include this true story about his dad. After all, it sounded like a fictional story…one scripted for a movie! He said maybe he should…it seemed it might be a fit for where he was in the writing process.
As I finished with my client’s haircut, I took him up to the front of the shop to finish our business, and he then said something that really surprised me! He said, “The salmon was delicious.” I think I looked up at him, a little shocked. He responded to that by adding, “The salmon had been shipped home.” As I let that sink in, I thought about how difficult it must have been to eat the salmon his dad had caught. It was no longer important, or was it? I said to my client, “I’m sure your dad would have been happy that you were enjoying his catch.” He agreed.
When Searching And Noticing the Divine, we can see God in the most peculiar ways sometimes. To notice God’s goodness in a meal your dad provided, but not having him there to tell you about the “one that got away,” had to be so hard. What a mixture of emotions as they ate that Coho salmon. I lived long past my dad’s bear-hunting trip, my client’s dad didn’t live long past his dream fishing trip—but what lives on in both stories is what’s most important, seeing God in both of them. God helped a little girl live a full life after a terrible accident, and God helped an elderly man’s life end on this earth in a most amazing way. My client’s dad probably would have chosen this ending to his life story had he been the one writing it. But he wasn’t writing it, God was. And our Father in Heaven is the best writer of all because He wrote the true story of His Son, Jesus, and told us what He was fishing for…us. And through Jesus, our Father in Heaven left us with what’s most important in all our stories…Hope.
And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter,
and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
Matthew 4:18-20 (NKJV)