Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Casting a Line

It was morning, and as I opened my eyes, turning over, I remembered why I had worked so hard to get ready for this weekend. We were finally 'up north' as we like to call it in Minnesota. The sun was streaming in through the windows in the camper. The kids were starting to stir on the pull out couch below. You would think I had unloaded my burdens on the way up here, but in reality, they were still very much upon my shoulders.

We arrived on a Thursday evening. Our extended family trickling in with vehicles of many sizes: cars, vans, SUVS...our brother-in-law took the cake with his truck, camper, and boat--all in tow. Quite an entourage, and he manages it well on the road! The kids were running around in circles with their cousins, flash lights whirling about. It was all fun and games until our daughter was smacked flat on her back, in the dark, with a bump on her head. She was no longer a 'happy camper'...but she got over it--Arnica gel to the rescue! These things happen in the excitement of getting away.

While driving up, I got a call about a produce order that I had tried to pick up before we left. Long story short, there was a miscommunication between me and the contact site. So here I was, on vacation, and stuck with 30 lbs of perishable food, waiting to be picked up in a humid outdoor storage shed. I called everyone I could think of that might want to drive the 30 minutes and pick up my order. It wasn't looking good. I was envisioning the possibility of paying $80 for something that I wouldn't get to enjoy. Not cool.

My husband Troy, a lover of fishing, was itching to get out on the lake. Only problem was the gas line to the boat motor was shot. So he had to make a trip into town and get that fixed. When he got back, he was ready to go. However, no one else seemed to be in any hurry, so his patience was starting to wear a bit thin. The kids and I decided to join him, although I could sense this may not be a peaceful time together. It's hard to enjoy fishing when you have to keep a curious little girl from leaning too far over the side of the boat. It's hard to relax when you're trying to explain to an eager little guy how to cast a line, and yet not hook his sisters' eye out, in the process. Question after question, the frustration was mounting. It seemed like all we were catching was a lot of hot air as we sat in that metal boat, under the noonday sun.

Adrian had told us, before we left, that he was going to catch a big northern while we were up here. I sincerely hoped that he would, but you never know how hungry the fish might be on any given day. As we sat in the boat, I had a moment of silence in my heart, praying that he would catch that fish. It sure would make our time together more enjoyable. The boat motor started to sputter, and suddenly the oars we brought along seemed way more important than the net we had forgotten at the dock. "Oh no, please God...don't let us get stranded out in the middle of this lake!" We started drifting towards the cattails and cabbage weeds...this was not looking good at all.

We dropped anchor and decided to stay where we were. It was time to cast our line and see what came back to us. We waited awhile...and then casted, again and again. It was getting warm. The bag of necessities was worth running back up the long stairs for. Out came the snack bars and flavored water. Yep, we might be here for awhile. There sat Adrian, with his dad behind him. Both sets of hands on the pole, casting and reeling. It was a beautiful moment for the both of them. I got the camera out and started filming, not yet knowing what would be on the end of that line.

And then it happened. Adrian's pole was no longer straight and light on the fingers. It was now bending under the weight of something really big! Took awhile, but the two of them managed to reel in that northern pike. Now how to get it in the boat, since we had no net. It was a struggle, but we got that thrashing lake shark into the boat and eventually, unhooked and restrung in the water, towing behind us as we made our way back to shore. Thankfully, the motor had enough umpf to get us home...it completely gave out when we got back: bad water pump.

Our son was the proud angler of a 27", 4lb northern! As we pulled into the dock, we yelled out, "Adrian caught a fish!" Soon, everyone came running down the steps, with cameras in hand. My normally photo-shy kid was happy to oblige his relatives by smiling and holding up his fish that was over half his height in length. We quickly forgot about our momentary trials out on that boat and celebrated with a 5-yr olds' fulfilled dream.

Getting back to that Friday morning...when I had opened my eyes, the first words to pop into my head were these: "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." I Peter 5: 6-7

I felt some of my burden lighten up as I pondered these words. I didn't know at that time what we would catch, but I felt better than I did while traveling up here. God did provide for us in many ways this weekend. He brought to my mind a certain friend who was able to pick up my produce order. That was huge for me. Now I could enjoy our weekend.

Sometimes we work so hard just to 'get away' from our reality. It's ironic how stressed out I can become, just preparing to leave my hectic life. But the flip side of that is in those quiet moments, in the beauty of creation, I seem to hear God's voice more clearly: "Just cast me your burdens, and I'll send something back to you that you can handle." And in the form of a fighting fish, it brought a lot joy--and a good meal, too!