March 12, 2007
I am thinking about fishing. Maybe it’s because Dad took me fishing on my birthday for many years or maybe it’s because it’s the inherent peacefulness of water, but I long to be in a john boat or on the dock, watching a cork.
Mind you, I suck at fishing about as much as I do at golf. I have no natural abilities at understanding and capitalizing on fish behavior to ensure I bring home a catch and most of the time the mechanics of fishing escape me (you know.. hooking the fish, corkless tightlines, the whole casting to the perfect spot problem).
And I will admit, ultimately I plan to eat the little critters.
But mostly right now, my mind if full of a million memories and a million moments of fishing trips that shaped and molded my heart.
There was the time Dad and I went to the barpit off the Arkansas River. I was a young girl of 13 and life had become complicated. My mind was reeling with the realization that people didn’t believe in God, and with sweaty palms and the aching worry of doubt, I wondered how I could know there was one.
We finished fishing and Dad suggested that we make a fire. All I could think of was I wanted to go somewhere that my mind didn’t doubt and I could be sure about life. Sitting on the verge of womanhood, adulthood, a faithless world and a barpit with my Dad wasn’t where I wanted to be but it was where I was.
It seemed a bit of a mystery to me how Dad might have recognized I was troubled, I know now it was obvious. Spilling my guts as I looked into the fire, Dad was neither surprised nor distressed at my confession.
Just after Jake died, a friend I didn’t know I had, invited Bob and I to fish. I stood on the boat dock, this time wiser about doubt and its role in faith and fathers, but with an aching heart much harder to bear than a 13 years old’s coming of age one. A sense of panic, I wandered the boat dock, dangling the hook around old tires and engine oily surface waters, praying for a bite. It took a while for me to sit, realizing that catching a fish wasn’t what I was there for.
With friends who know how to leave you be, I watched the sun go down and talked to Dad, my heavenly one, and asked for peace and grace. The things I told my Father that day, well He wasn’t surprised at my confessions.
I long to go fishing, to watch my fishing line go slack, to see my cork bobble when a little bream mouths and tastes my bait, and watch the sun go down and the stars come out. I long to go fishing and hear His say…
“Be still, and know that I am God” Psalms 46:10