Fish Bones, Fire, and Water

Doc and Family

We have all heard the saying that “the truth will set you free.” Honesty is a character trait that most of us can certainly get behind. Having kids, I can remember when they all first learned about bending the truth to suit their desires. It starts out very innocent and then it just snowballs if it is not made clear that it is far worse to lie than it is to be truthful. Then we have the famous scene from the movie A Few Good Men where Jack Nicholson is on the stand and is being pressed, and he erupts with the famous line “you can’t handle the truth.” So, we all want honesty, but sometimes the truth hurts, or it may not quite line up with our worldview, our self-image, or our desires.

This past weekend we drove down to Lynchburg, VA to visit our son Luke. We had a fun weekend with him and our oldest son who drove up from Atlanta to be with us. On Sunday morning we all went to a church service early before we parted ways. The pastor told a story about another pastor traveling by train from NJ to NY. He was in an upgraded car where they served a meal that happened to be fish. The man next to him on the train found out that he was a pastor and began to press him about his beliefs. This man was an agnostic who was challenging different biblical stories that seemed far-fetched, or impossible to be true. As this man continued to rail the pastor, the pastor did not say a word. He just continued to eat his fish. He would carefully pull the meat away from the bones and move the bones to the side of his plate. Finally, the man asked the pastor for a response to his seemingly well-prepared attacks. The pastor looked up from his meal and said the Bible is like this fish. It is good to consume, but these bones, over on the side of my plate, are the parts that are difficult for us to understand because we are not God. I just move them over to the side of my plate for some other fool to choke on if they chose, but I am not going to throw away the fish because it has bones.

Today we are being inundated with information. Some of that information is true and honest, and a lot of it is slanted and deceptive. This is nothing new. As long as I have been alive and long before, man has been bending the truth to suit his agenda. The big difference is that today we are being fed information in much larger and more frequent quantities that our brain can become programmed like a computer to believe just about anything. The devastation from this gigantic human experiment is clear to see in the record high levels of depression, anxiety, unhappiness, fear, suicide, and all other markers of mental health.

People ask me a lot why I am always in such a good mood. It’s probably because I have the best wife in the world and she is an amazing cook. It also could be because I have an amazing family who loves me and supports me no matter how much I screw up. My happiness is also the result of being in a profession where I get to serve the beautiful people that trust me with their health. Wife, family, and career are all great, but they are really not the source of my joy, they are really a result. My true source of happiness comes from what I know to be true. This is the meat from the fish, not the bones. We have our conscious mind and our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is what becomes our reality. It is constantly being fed something. The question is what are you feeding it?

Innately our subconscious is drawn to nature. I believe this is why the hiking trails in the Adirondacks are packed with people in record numbers. Where were all these people 25 years ago? The reality is that our lack of connection with nature in our everyday lives has created this draw to the wild. Our bodies yearn for the sounds, smells, sights and feelings associated with nature. 25 years ago, people were not glued to their electronic/virtual world devices. It is time to unplug from the world and plug in to what God has created for us. One of my friends shared a statement with me that reinforces this idea. He said “the only two things that have always held man’s attention are fire and water.”


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