Friday
Sep092016

Whatever comes my way...

 "What are you fishing for?"

I had asked this of a young man, with his fishing gear in hand. I was hoping the answer would be Barracuda. That was the fish my son, Matthew, was seeking on the Island of Kauai.  He had done his research over the past two days searching various web sites and YouTube videos, talking to locals at every small town market and roadside angler we came across.  

We had already been to two other gorgeous river inlets. There are 8 places where the rivers of Kauai make their way to the Ocean from atop Mount Kawaikini the highest point on the island. We had even retrieved our live bait for the occasion from a local tide pool.

It was at dinner the night before that Matt became convinced this beautiful lighthouse setting was the perfect place to cast his line. Our waiter's excitement was evident as he shared with us the story of his own Barracuda catch, pole set up, location and even time of day.  "Early while the sun is still low and the shadow around the cliff keeps the fish from seeing you there."  

The next day, at Ninini Point Lighthouse, we crossed paths with another young man. I had asked him what he was fishing for.  He gave me an unexpected answer...

"Whatever comes my way."  

For over 15 years our family has made the trip across the Pacific to the peace and tranquility of Kauai's paradise. The locals who might otherwise avoid tourist's conversation, ( I don't feel like a tourist anymore), are happy to share their love of the sea and fishing for it's bounties. We were not the only ones carrying fishing poles everywhere we went.  In fact, if you pay attention to the details, you will notice a pole sticking out of the window or the back end of most cars and trucks without a rental car tag.  Men, women, and children are everywhere on the Island throughout the day casting a line into the sea. 

Perhaps, the joy they find in this daily routine comes from the answer I was given that morning.  They accept each day from the sea "whatever comes their way."

We each cast our lines into the sea of life daily. Is the joy, the peace, the satisfaction with that "life line" found in our ability to accept whatever comes our way? I believe it is. Below the surface, just out of our view, the sea of life actually carries within it's current greater abundance than we could possibly estimate.

We plan, we prepare, map out the perfect time and location, then cast into life our efforts. Looking forward to a specific return on our baited hook, the reeling in is thrilling, though almost always more work than we anticipated. To what end? Exactly what you planned for? Did you catch what you were expecting? something better and bigger perhaps? Or, more likely, did you catch a snag and an emptyhook?  Is it "the one that got away?"  Will you accept a catch that is completely unexpected today?  Is it a keeper or will you toss it back into the sea?  Will it feed your family today and require the same effort again tomorrow?

So much effort for the unknown.  

At this lighthouse fishing spot in Kauai, as well as many others, there are anchors in the rock cliff that the lighthouse sits upon.  Fisherman tie a bell onto their poles and then anchor the pole to the rock.  They then wait at a distance, close to the lighthouse, so as not to be swept away by the temptest waves on stormy days.  Waitng for the faint tinkling of a small bell to signal that their cast for the day, even in the storm, has granted unto them a gift from the sea.

When taking fishing into consideration, "Let go and let God," has a whole new meaning. The visual of letting go of the line and watching it fly across the sea is powerful.  We can only control what happens on the shore before the cast. The location, the bait, our patience with the bite, even our willingness to accept the days catch.  Peace whispers that the fisherman's work (our work) will, in time, bring forth the bounty we seek. And so, we cast out our line again with a prayer... "Make me strong enough to reel today."  "Give me courage to face an empty hook...again."  "The beauty of the sea today Lord was enough." 

With the permission of my daughter, Colby, I share a piece of her life.  She is the oldest of my four daughters and has been a constant light in my life.  Her enthusiasm for and joy in "fishing life's sea" in spite of the unexpected each day is amazing!  She married her husband Al, at the age of 21.  Their daughter Brooke was born a year later.  Just over a year after that their son Kaden blessed their lives.  Good jobs, sweet family...perfect, exactly as they had planned. 

One year later, Kaden was diagnosed with Autism. Not exactly what they had been expecting. The emotions they experience and the challenges they face together often seem unsurmountable to others. Yet, on a daily basis, they accept whatever comes their way.  In Colby's own words, "We appreciate so much more and find joy from so many new things with Kaden than I ever thought possible.  Brooke is a better sister because of him. It's perfect for us!"  An unexpected snuggle, a joyful laugh, a successful family hike, a full night of sleep...each worth the days work of reeling for the catch. So much joy in the unexpected gifts from the Sea.

Kaden is four now.  He is amazing!  Brooke is a first grader...such a big girl! And, this year baby Blakely is a new addition to their family. Kaden is still non-verbal but he does not needs words to show his love for his baby sister! Their life is lived unconventionally.  They cast into life's currents with the same consideration for the details as any good fisherman would.  There are evenings when I talk on the phone with my daughter and I can feel her tired bones through the phone line.  I know her husband feels the same exhaustion from the days labor.  Yet, there is always gratitude for the ability to make the cast regardless of the catch that day. 

Colby, has a tatoo on her left shoulder that reads "find joy in the ordinary."  If you ask her, she will tell you that I thought she was crazy to get words permenantly engraved on her body. (I would never have that same confidence!) What I really think is that they are perfect for her...an acknowlement of how extrodinary the ordinary can become.

Most days in our lives are "ordinary."  We cast our line and reel it in, with little grand reward, at times we are left completely empty handed. I have had days when I have left my fishing pole on the shore...it just didn't seem worth the effort.

It is our willingness to bait hook and cast into the currents, despite our discouragments and sore reeling arms, that allows the opportunity for the extordinary to find it's way to our nearly invisible line and tiny hook in the great sea of life. 

Finding joy in the "ordinary" of each day makes the fishing trip grand!

My son did not catch a Barracuda that year on the Island.  I am certain he will cast again another day...

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