Not so long ago (yesterday), in a paradise not too far away, I started my mid-morning, here. A delicious top water bass haven, dear friends are kind enough to let me fish whenever I like. Oh I love it and them so much!
This little two-man (or two men and a little man) Pelican develops narcolepsy. The pond is perfect, but grounding it and leading it back to its bed isn't an option with the terrain and length of rope combo. Hmm.
God sneezes power-generating Suns and galaxies. Sleepy trolling motors are nothing to His skillset. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me, y'all. No big deal.
Except: it was not my day for that awesome experiment in praying in tongues because though I was almost tempted to be bummed out, I landed a four lb'er as the battery ka-putted who was dragging me further from my ride home and I got distracted and forgot to try that fantastic notion.
Which, by the way, is a fantastic life idea. Do you pray in tongues? It's ok if you don't, it is not a requirement; but if not, why not? I get that some traditions steer away from it. But the Holy Spirit has been developing a value in me of trying to peer more closely at mysterious things like tongues, prophecy, gifts of healing. I want to be open to investigate--especially if it weirds people out. Because if I play for the other team and I can somehow keep believers away from using their God-given tools and weapons, just by whispering a little doubt or insecurity: I'm all about it. I don't believe we have to pray in tongues: I believe that we get to pray in tongues. It is one of my favorite gifts: It is so calming. Don't know how? If you want to, just ask Him and try it. Why would you think it would come natural without a little training and practice? No new language is simple when you're first learning it. Scripture says, Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies himself. I like that. Edify means to build up. It's really true and I really need it and it has revolutionized my walk. Rabbit trail Sermonette finis.
Ok: so there I am, all alone, about on the far-shore and nearly stuck. Trolling motor snoozing. Paddle-less. Tempted to think: woe is me.
Except here is where "the Lord inhabits the praises of His people" kicks in:
the praises of His people.
I smile. It is becoming my habit when life and circumstances seem-to-suck. (Just put your palms face-up and smile: now try to be anxious. I love that trick.)
I don't panic.
I'm not bummed out. Like Ohno, I might be stuck here fishing all day. Really?
I'm becoming accustomed to the process of getting over myself by not paying so much attention to what may seem to be happening.
I remember the story my pal told me a couple years ago, sitting across the table from a man who spends a lot of time ministering in the -anistans regions of the world. He said, "Do you know how to sit across the table from someone who under local law and custom has the right to kill you for what you believe?" And my friend said, "No. I know how to be afraid of them. I know how to hate them, a little."
The man said, "You have to remove the hooks from your love."
Within just a few weeks of hearing that story, I got one of the above trebles hooked through my middle finger which, at the time, was one of my preferred gestures when life-frustrated. Man, I wish I'd have taken a photo. It was hilarious and scary and brutal. Picture me yanking and pulling and praying and tugging and bleeding and hurting and repeat. My cousin just shaking his head like, never play with treble hooks in a moving boat, dummy.
But you know what? Within not even a year, I got another one hooked: in the other middle finger. Wow. My cousin just shakes his head, rinse, repeat.
It was a miracle I got either one of those hooks out with only pliers, no Doctor and no permanent nerve damage (we were fishing and wanted to keep fishing, so hospitals were out). But the message came through very loud and painfully clear: you have to remove the hooks from your love and the process of doing so is wildly painful but totally worth it.
A friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that her momma had seen the words as she woke up "cussing (or I suppose obscene bird flipping) is just concise complaining."
Ok. So no paddles? That's ok: I'm not in trouble.
But I am in treble! I had thirty pound test line on my Abu Garcia baitcaster reel and the above-Zara Spook treble treble-hooked lure so I hooked--yes like a low-rent-batarang, this island
And so I reeled me and my semi-stranded-self out to the middle of the pond. Then the breeze kicked up--dot-not-awesome.
Then--just out of my casting range, I spot/remember this old beauty.
Oh yes. This is where I want to be. It's like four feet from the dock!
Now speaking of hooks, a couple summers ago down at Sun Valley I'd thrown a long-bomb lure towards a dock where largemouth like to get educated and I accidentally caught a kayak.
And we sort of hear this distant but steady ssssssssst as my buddy long-arms my lure back by up and outing it in a really elegant flick.
And this gal comes running down the hill. Where did it land?
And she bursts into tears.
Now I'd never heard of an inflatable kayak before, but they do exist and they're apparently quite pricey. PSA.
And I say, hey, it's ok--I will absolutely pay for some duct tape and find you a pump and some air or you know you can relax and use your patch kit.
But she is having no consolation from three strangers. And I feel bad but I also feel like this is a twenty four hundred dollar reaction for a thirteen dollar and twenty-four cent crime.
And then her father gets down the hill, joins us and says, "I hope you boys learned your lesson."
And the three of us are all like, trying not to go snarky but we are all of us like, of course: never park an inflatable kayak where someone is likely to be throwing a hook. Bass like docks, man. We like bass.
And then we realize he is serious and his daughter, though in her late twenties, is still crying and my aggressive be-hooked cast caused all this bizarre drama.
But they sort of forgave me and my cousin stage-whispers as we are trolling away to a dock a few doors down, "I see nobody is asking how my eight dollar lure is doing."
And that's how laughter is good medicine--automatically removing hook from love. We all still laugh. I wouldn't say the remorse has slowed down my wild casts. It is about progress not perfection. Don't judge me.
So, back to me stuck in the middle with me.
I cast my bat-a-rang/Zara Spook as far as I can toss it towards the above tree.
And I miss because I'm still way out in the middle.
So God gave me and I use these built-in paddles.
And let my splash-fest 2016 begin. I finally got just close enough to wrap the limb and I gently drug myself and my boat across the rest of the pond all the way to the dock.
And I was so proud of myself.
And so I fished. And I sat on this chair but the second I stood up to cast this
Fine feline stole my chair.
And, man, it was just glorious. Smiling, fishing. Hookless middle fingers. Loving every minute.
Sometimes God is sneaky like that.
Like, He knows me. He knows what I love. He knows I'm an introvert. He knows I love the unexpected, the very quiet, a great challenge. Dancing with Cats. He knows how I read life and He helps me tilt my head to catch the look in the shadows.
Now look again at the cat's expression.
God knows what you love. And He helps you to cultivate love when there are hooks all over it: MAN, stupid trolling motor v: any minute on the water is heaven to me, right?
He says, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
Go outside and find a little home away from phone, in Jesus' name.
It'll help extract the hooks from your love or kayak, guaranteed.
(I see nobody asked how my $8 lure is doing...love that cat).