A couple days ago, while reading The Pout Pout Fish to our two year old, I was reminded of how you can really learn a lot of life lessons from a good children’s book. It actually made me think of when a talented mother named Amanda shared the book, You are Special, by Max Lucado one Thursday morning @ Willowbrook.
As a group of women, we sat and listened to a children’s book (which she read beautifully), and we were moved. There were tears. We were reminded, in that book, to look towards, and find our worth in, our Wonderful Maker, rather than looking to each other. We were reminded of more, but this is not the topic of this post, so I’ll move on and let you discover the jewels Max Lucado wrote into that book later.
Past the rhythm, alliterations and repetitions, The Pout-Pout Fish is a very good book for our little ones and ourselves in another way. In the book, The Pout-Pout Fish, the main character is gloomy. He is just an unhappy fish. His friends come by and try to get him to act happier – not mope around so much, but he just doesn’t think its possible. He has come to think that he is but a pout-pout fish with an “ever present pout”, that it just isn’t going anywhere, he’s just made that way, and that he doesn’t have the option of being happier. Then, after all his friends have suggested he be happy, a shimmering fish swims right up and kisses this pout-pout fish! He is surprised and realizes that he’s not a pout-pout fish at all! He’s a “kiss-kiss fish, with a kiss-kiss face”!
Though he was sour and was turning even his pal’s pleadings down, this fish swam right up and spread some cheer to a fish she didn’t know! Now, I’m not suggesting that we go around kissing people. In my circles, we don’t really even do the cheek kiss much (never – perhaps a great aunt or something but that’s about where it ends). I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I’m simply saying that we do not. Perhaps it’s the humidity. YUCK! Sweaty faces and greeting with cheek kisses don’t mix. However, there is something to be said about loving on people who are not over flowing with cheer. Even when they are gloomy, don’t seem approachable, or are down right angry, we can love on them in small ways and God might just make big things happen.
Let me tell you, this lesson is for me. I am a cheerful person. I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, and while sometimes we all have rough days, where we need lots of hugs (unless you’re a touch-me-not… what do touch-me-not’s need… I should know this, I love a touch-me-not. She sometimes needs an understanding listening ear) and to just cry some tears (let’s face it, touch-me-not, or not, we’re emotional sometimes), I’m more often than not cheerful. But while I’m generally cheerful, I’ve closed up a bit. I am at ease talking with a stranger in a store (and so is my two year old – we must work harder on stranger danger), but before Bible study on Thursday mornings, despite my great intentions, I’m not so quick to approach other women I do not know, to welcome them and make new friends. We could go on and on about the why’s (I’m sure they are layers deep, plus I have a family member who has taught me that some people, in the south no less, think that is weird, that you are weird, and become uncomfortable, wishing to not come back, if they are approached for conversation with someone they don’t know. But, how many can there be like that out there) and I’ve got great excuses (When you’re limping around, you tend to plant your self in a chair instead of skipping around to meet new friends), but they are just that, excuses. God has given me this joy and it’s more fulfilling than the “silent silver shimmer” of a fish who turned our pout-pout fish into a kiss-kiss fish with one kiss. God can give much more to others (and myself) with just the smallest amount of intentional, determined, obedience on my part. He wants to work through me. But He doesn’t have to… I’ll be missing out on that blessing if I am not intentional and obedient. Now I’m not saying this book is the perfect illustration of this preaching to myself, but I did receive a lesson from it regardless. I am also not saying that all the women I don’t know @ Thursday morning Bible Study are “pout-pout fish”, but who knows any of us are going through on the inside that others are not seeing. Who knows how God might speak through us into their hearts and needs if we are willing. Maybe it’s not even them God might speak to, but ourselves in our conversations.
What are ways that we can spread joy to the “pout-pout fish” we come across, or even have in our everyday lives (without the smooching)?
For my Thursday morning scenario, I can catch up with my friends later in the day, later during our time of fellowship, or in email or phone call the day before, instead of Thursday morning! This isn’t a way to spread joy, but it can take an excuse or two out of the way. And I should wear comfortable shoes always!
Hope you enjoy the book if you have it (or check it out at the library, buy it, whatever), and even more so, I hope you “spread the cheery-cheeries all over the place”!
While I’m closing this up, let me take this time to direct you to Bobi Ann’s blog post from last week titled, Hidden Pain. When I read her post that day, it reminded me of this post about the Pout-Pout Fish I’d planned to write. If you follow my blog, I hope that you take a moment, or an hour, and check out her blog. She’s a very cool woman that I’m blessed to know a little. She’s the women’s ministry leader at Willowbrook Baptist Church. I’ve placed a link to her blog in a post before, so go on now and check it out!