An April Fool

“Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me.”  – Jer. 11:19

I always pick the wrong line at Target.  I looked at the data and assessed my options: Lane 7 has a person with two shopping carts full of items and a bulging envelope of coupons. Lane 6 has one person holding a sweater. It is impossible for me to know that “sweater lady” has been seething for a week about being overcharged by $3 and needs to speak to a manager.

My kids throw up and soil every pillow, blanket, sheet, and stuffed toy on the bed just as the last load of laundry comes out of the dryer.

After much debate I take the side-streets over the freeway, only to discover the road is closed for the 10-foot tall Oscar statues to cross Hollywood Blvd at a roaring 0.5 MPH. 

In France, a popular April Fool’s prank involves pinning a paper fish to people’s backs and yelling “poisson d’Avril” when they discover it. A fish (real or fake) hanging off your back is a sign to everyone that you are a fool and have been tricked by the world.  These moments and countless others feel like a stinky fish following me around, reminding me of my shortcomings.

Perhaps the wrong line at Target, the traffic delays and the foiled plans to start my week “ahead of the game” are subtle reminders that ultimately God is the one in control no matter how much I try to control my environment.

If I am constantly focused on making the choice that avoids conflict, risk, or pain, then I am likely ignoring the deeper truth that whatever decision I make, God is already there with me.

When I feel cloaked in the stench of “Poisson d’Avril”, what reminds me of God’s steadfast friendship?

“A shield before me is God” – Ps. 7:1

Published by jencoito

Jen Coito is a California native with diverse experience in parish, academic, and national ministry settings. She has a Masters in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She worked for the California Province of Jesuits for seven years promoting Christian Life Community on university campuses and other diverse ethnic settings. Jen has collaborated on the creation of formation materials, discernment tools, and small group processes that are being used around the country in Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and English. In 2013, Jen and Jesuit priest Fr. Tri Dinh co-founded Christus Ministries out of a desire to engage local young adults and form young-adult friendly parishes. Jen works for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California as the Associate Director of Mission Advancement. Jen, Jason, and their three children live in Southern California. You can read more of Jen's writings at

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