Catfishing

Caution: This story is not for the faint of heart. If you’re of a delicate constitution, turn back. If you avoid horror flicks and Stephen King novels at all cost, turn back. If you have nightmares after watching Lifetime channel movies, turn back.

If you think you can handle it, proceed with caution. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

ducks on pondA few weeks ago, one of our ducks went missing. We’d finally convinced them they were ducks, not chickens, and coaxed them into the pond, where they swam and frolicked and played like a Disney animation film. One day we left them alone out there for a few hours while we went shopping in town. When we left, there were nine ducks.

When we returned, there were only eight.

We found the remaining ducks way up in the yard, under some shade trees, huddled and shivering in shock. They stayed that way for several hours, and then they each lay down, head under wing, and cuddled up in a group.

They were in mourning.

We assumed the missing duck was sunning in the grass when a falcon swooped down and grabbed him. Or maybe a fox? Since we didn’t witness the abduction, and since we don’t speak fluent duck, we figured we’d probably never know the culprit’s identity.

The next day, we tried to herd the ducks down to the pond. They’d go all the way to the edge, no problem. But they wouldn’t go in the water, no matter how much we coaxed. The more we tried to get them in the pond, the more frantic they became.

Next day, same thing.

It’s been a month, and those ducks still haven’t gotten back in the water.

But then we started finding clues. Like feathers, floating amongst the lily pads. We knew there were no sssnakes big enough to capture our ducks. And none of our snakesss are poisonous. (Just to clarify, I hate snakes. But I don’t wish to falsely accuse anyone.)

One day last week, the boy child was wading around in the pond, doing some spear fishing, when he held something up high over his head. “Uh . . . what’s this?” he called.

Oh.

My.

Duck.

It was a big ‘ol quackin’ portion of a duck’s skeleton. Right smackdab in the middle of the catfish hangout.

No wonder our other ducks refused to go back in the pond. It’s like Jaws, remade.

We googled whether or not catfish can attack and eat ducks, and it turns out that yes, they can. They are predators. They are bottom-dwellers. They hide and lurk, waiting for an opportunity to feed on some poor innocent prey.

Needless to say, we’ve done a lot of fishing in our pond this week. One day soon, we’re gonna have us a fish fry.

Ginger, our dog, has even gotten in on the hunt. This morning when I stepped outside onto my welcome mat, she’d left me a gift.

A rotting catfish head.

She was so proud.

There’s a new term (or at least new to me) circulating around the internet, called “catfishing.” The urban dictionary says it’s when someone lurks and hides his/her true identity online, in order to make prey of innocent victims.

These people are predators.

Bottom-dwellers.

And like catfish, they probably have very unattractive, slimy whiskers. (That last part may or may not be true.)

I’m reminded that we all have a catfish who’s out to destroy us. He lurks. He lies. He waits for the perfect moment to pounce, so he can devour any shred of joy or peace or innocence I may carry.

But I know a fisherman (or a fisher of men?) who doesn’t take too kindly to anybody harming his flock. And He’s ready to have a fish fry.

It’s good to remember that not everything in this world is trustworthy. Not everything is as it seems. We need to be cautious and wise, lest we become the next victim.

But it’s also good to know that we have a Father who loves us, who wants to protect us, and who will fight for us. And if we stay close to Him, He will keep us safe.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith . . . and the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast,” 1 Peter 5:7-10 niv.

 

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