Published on September 28, 2021

Pain, wisdom, understanding combined

By Shirley Prihoda
The Bulletin

Many older folks who have lived, failed, then got up and went on to understand that pain is the motivator to seek a better way. Such was my case.

In my early twenties, I was reaping the results of some very poor decisions. To say that I needed a stepladder to climb up to see the bottom of the hole would be an understatement. My life was devoid of any foundation of biblical knowledge. I was hopeless, and at first I didn’t know how to deal with it.

My little son died of cancer. I was pregnant, scarred, and scared beyond reason that this child could also be ripped from my arms.

The pastor at the First Baptist Church in Freeport in 1971 offered to conduct my son’s service. As I sat there wondering how I could wake up tomorrow and live to face a day without my son, he began to speak the words of another parent who had cried out for the very same reason.

With tears flowing down his face, he spoke the words of King David from 2 Samuel 12:23 “But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

Those words dropped a hook into my heart to look upwards “from whence cometh my help.” The offer to see my son again led me to seek the One who offered that gift.

Over the ensuing years, it has been my observation that we focus heavily on learning the words in the Bible but little on getting to know the Man behind the words. When we get to know the Man, we begin to understand and trust Him to accomplish Romans 8:28 in our lives; no matter what’s been dealt to us in this world.

This passage reads, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called, according to His purpose.”

We are instructed to get wisdom in Proverbs 4:5. “Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.” On the surface, it appears as if understanding and wisdom automatically come together. Such is not always the case. Sometimes age comes alone.

Consequently, many people are believers who got the wisdom part and can quote scripture faster than a speeding bullet. However, understanding was apparently on an extended vacation and unreachable by phone. They must have been absent when Newton’s 3rd Law of Physics was discussed (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction).

The Lord’s training of us is very similar to the training of our children. We tell them not to touch a hot stove, and we share our painfully gained wisdom.

Many will touch the hot stove, anyway. Unfortunately, painful wisdom is not passed down through our DNA and fast forwarded 25 years.

Now for something lighter. There’s nothing quite like a good plate of fried catfish. Well, maybe there is with the addition of seasoned French fries and a good sauce. That about sums it up!

Southern Fried Catfish


3 Pounds Catfish Fillets, cut into strips
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
¼ Teaspoon Lemon Pepper
½ Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning (like Slap Ya Mama)
½ Teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 Cup Self-rising Flour
2 Cups Yellow Cornmeal
Canola oil for frying


Rinse the fillets. Cut into three to four strips lengthwise. Season fish on both sides with salt, peppers, Cajun seasoning, and Old Bay, pressing lightly into fish.

Preheat fryer to 375 degrees F and let the fillets rest while the fryer heats up. Whisk the flour and cornmeal together in a large bowl until well blended. Dip the catfish fillets in the mixture until well coated; shake off any excess and set aside.

Once the oil is heated up, coat the fillets with the cornmeal mixture again. Shake the fillets to loosen any excess and drop into the fryer with the basket lowered. Fry only a few at a time so as not to overcrowd and bring down the temperature of the oil.

Fry until fish floats and is golden brown, about 4 to 6 minutes, depending on size. Drain on several layers of paper towels.

Tired of Tartar Sauce? Give this one a try!

Shut Yo’ Mouth Sauce


1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Barbeque Sauce
2 Teaspoons Dill Pickle Juice
½ Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper


Combine all ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate in an air-tight container.

(To contact Shirley, please send emails to john.bulletin@gmail.com or write to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)