Dear Friends and prayer partners,
My 49 year old dad died 27 years ago on Fatherâ€™s Day. He was one of my best friends. He died so young – and I miss him so much.
Dad loved to fish. He taught me to fish in deep waters. To fish in places where others avoided. My friends and their dads fished at Possum Fork or Kate Elder Lake where there were inviting loading docks and paved roads to river banks. Their fishing was profitable and easy. They never caught a trophy bass or a crappie limit, but they caught enough to eat. Average fish, true, nothing extraordinary, but adequate. And that was good enough for them.
Not for my dad. He did not want merely to catch enough to eat. A stringer of forgettable but eatable 2 pound black bass were not enough for him. He didnâ€™t merely want to catch the limit. He wanted the 4 pound lunker. The trophy. The unusual. So we went to Ditch Bayou or King Tut or Anthrax Slough. Slippery river banks and inhospitable muddy water for us. Why? Because no one else went there and that is where the monsters lived. The really great fish. The granddaddy crappie. The behemoth bass. That is where we went.
The allure of catching one trophy fish in a neglected Anthrax Slough was worth more to Dad than all the crappie in Possum Fork.
As a result, we did not catch as many throw backs as my friends, and they fried a lot more crappie and bass than we did, but when we did catch a fish, it was a trophy. A memorable catch. And more times than not my soft hearted dad threw the trophy back – it wasnâ€™t the consummation of the fact that thrilled him so much as the faith event, the thrill of the journey.
I learned that the biggest fish lived in the back water bayous of Whiskey Shoot or Boggie Bayou, not in hospitable Lake Chicot or Paradise Lake.
I remembered my dad and as I fish for the big fish. Metaphorically speaking I went fishing at King Tut yesterday. I went fishing in the deeper waters yesterday. I reached for the trophy catch. I decided I wasnâ€™t merely satisfied with catching my limit. I want the biggest and the best.
I resigned yesterday from my safe, profitable, public teaching job. It is not that I donâ€™t like teaching – I do. And I am not opposed to public education (although it is an oxymoron). For the first time in my life I am not sure how my bills will be paid. This is my Anthrax Slough, my Whiskey Shoot. It is the only way I can fully obey the calling God has placed on my life.
Karen seems to be ok about it–I don’t know if she is Joan of Arc or just walking in faith (probably the later). I love that woman. She has been fishing in Boggie Bayou so long she has learned to be patient and to wait for the trophy bass. Not I though. It is still real scary to me.
I am, I admit, Doubting Dan. I wonder if I will actually catch that big fish.
Perhaps only I, or any 50+ year old husband , can understand how this feels–I have devoted my entire adult life to providing for my wife and children. And I just resigned from a good paying job in a Recession? A good job. But not what God wanted me to do (darn it). He wants me to fish in more treacherous, but more promising waters. Waters where I can land a whopper.
The problem is, and I admit it, in spite of my dadâ€™s best efforts, I am at heart a Possum Fork fisherman. I like to ease my boat down a ramp and not get dirty. I like to catch a few fish and go home. It is no fun dodging cotton mouths and mosquitos at King Tut. But that is the only place the monster bass live. It is the only way this saint can fully obey his Lord!
I have seen the outcome of this faithfulness. In my distance learning program there is Julia who will someday write better than Willa Cather. There is Lucy my 2003 distance learning student who graduated from Columbia Law School and is arguing hard in Congress against the inevitable approval of the pro-choice Supreme Court nominee. Chris used my SAT Prep program and scored 2000+. I have stayed on the lake long enough already to be assured the big fish are out there.
Well, I am sure it is my problem. I am a “scenario” guy. Which means I think of “potential” scenarios and I use that as my compass. A bad plan I admit. Too often this plan is a self-fulfilled prophecy to mediocre fishing. Pray for me! Pray that I will learn to ignore the scenario and to follow the Lord. Pray that I will patiently take the necessary risks and to fish in the dangerous places. Pray that I will take joy in the journey and not to worry about the angry water snakes stalking my john boat..
So onward and upward! And think of me while I am fishing in the deeper waters. Looking for the trophy. And join me if you can!
Thank you for your prayers.