Big Fish Story

Painting by Merrill Farnsworth

Jonah

Hey, Jonah.

Say Jonah was swallowed by a whale

Jonah

Say Jonah

You got a big fish story to tell

I’m the whale, big and bad, and ready to swallow you whole. Hey, Jonah. Where you going?  God told you to go to Nineveh, so why you buyin’ a one-way ticket other way?  You think you can escape God?

Think again, boy.  That boat you’re sailing on might float, but Jonah don’t.  You wanna know why?  Because your heart ain’t carryin’ an ounce of hope.  No.  Jonah’s heart’s heavy as stone, weighed down by all Ten Commandments plus a few extra.  Jonah’s workin’ so hard at keepin’ all those rules, it’s makin’ him mean.

Jonah.

Hey, Jonah.

Say Jonah was swallowed by a whale

Jonah

Say Jonah

Being mean can hurt like hell

Jonah, why does it make you so mad to find out God loves those Israel -hating Ninevites just as much as God loves you?   You think God’s gone soft, don’t you?  You don’t approve of him dishing out mercy to a nation that’s done you wrong.  A god like that makes you dream of a life without God, a life at the bottom of the sea.

Jonah – I see you, see you sinking down, tossed over board and thinking to drown is to be free.  I see that thin- lipped smile on that sour face of yours, that smile that says I might be going down but I’m not going to Nineveh. Guess again, Jonah.

Jonah.

Hey Jonah.

Say Jonah was swallowed by a whale

Jonah

Say Jonah

You’re fixin’ to land in jail

Hey, Jonah!  It’s been three stinking, rotting days and there you sit deep down in the cave of my gullet waiting to die.  You don’t get to die, Jonah – not in my belly!

Jonah.

Hey Jonah.

Say Jonah was swallowed by a whale

Jonah

Say Jonah

God just posted your bail

Blah!  Yeah, there you go, spit out and walking through Nineveh smelling like whale belly and looking like death. You storm through town shouting out for those Ninevites to turn or burn, then you head for the hills and wait for the fire to fall.  You scared them, Jonah. Scared them good.  They’re all on their knees right now begging God for mercy.

But are you shoutin’ hallelujah?  No.  You’re shoutin’ curses at a perfectly good fig tree, makin’ it want to wither up and die.  That’s low, Jonah.  Hey, Jonah!  What right you got to be so mad?   God created those sinnin’ Ninevites, and if God wants to save their souls I say

Jonah.

Hey Jonah.

Say Jonah was swallowed by a whale

Jonah

Say Jonah

You got a big fish story to tell

All God’s children have a story to tell.

~Merrill Farnsworth

2010

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About Merrill Farnsworth

Merrill was declared a poet in 6th grade by Sister Mary McDonald and kept writing. In addition to being named an ASCAP songwriter of the year for her work with Michelle Tumes on the single, Heaven’s Heart, she has written lyrics for various artists, worked on animation projects for Sony Wonder and Columbia Pictures and written numerous stage, video and radio scripts. Her current project is a collection of stories and paintings titled Jezebel’s got the Blues…and other works of imagination (slated to be published in 2012). This work has been performed several times with an outstanding cast that includes performances by Chip Arnold, Bonnie Keen, Nan Gurley, Robert Kiefer, Jon Royal and features the blues guitar of Phil Madeira. She collaborated with Phil on his new project Mercyland, which features artists Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, Shawn Mullins, The Civil Wars and others. She is also in the early stages of working with writer and actor Chip Arnold on a new musical. Along the way, Merrill has discovered the healing power of art in her own life and now integrates the arts into her work as a therapist. After earning a graduate degree in developmental psychology from Vanderbilt University in 2000, She has created Writing Circles to help others discover the healing power within their own authentic voices. Merrill has worked as a therapist in corporate, clinical and educational settings. She currently has a private practice on 21st Avenue near Hillsboro village, where she works with groups and individuals. For more information contact her at merrill.lpc@gmail.com or visit www.writingcircle.org -- Merrill Farnsworth, LPC, MHSP Convent Place (formerly St. Bernard's Convent) 2021 21st Avenue South, 430 Nashville, TN 37212
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