Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fishing With My Dad

Fishing - perched on the bank of a lake, watching the little red and white dabber bounce on the ripples of the sparkling water in great anticipation of seeing it suddenly disappear below the surface - was one of my favorite things to do when I was a little girl.

It was a family affair. Dad, Mom, my little sister and I would pack up the gear and head to the local lake on a Saturday afternoon. Dad would find the most promising spot, settle Mom in her lawn chair with her Good Housekeeping magazines, and get our hooks baited and lines in the water. As I look back, I don't think he had much time to get his own line in the water. He was forever getting ours out of overhanging branches, reeling them in when they got tangled in the weeds at the bottom of the lake and putting more bait on our hooks.

It was the time together, in that quiet place, that mattered most. I very much wanted to catch fish, but it is those moments that remain tucked away in my heart.

Sometimes Dad would rent a rowboat. My sister and I sat in the back watching his powerful arms pull the oars through the water. When we got to the place he figured there would be lots of fish, he would stop. We sat with our lines in the water, as the little boat rocked gently in the wind and water.

One afternoon Dad decided Mom should take a turn with the rowing. Much to our astonishment she willingly switched seats with him and took hold of the oars. After much going around in circles, while my little sister clung tightly to her seat, we began to make a bit of progress. We zigzagged through the water, heading closer to the shore. Our eyes must have gotten as big as saucers when we saw what she couldn't see. She was heading straight for a big rock sticking out of the water. Before Dad could do anything  the little boat scraped along the top of the rock and held firm. My sister, who wasn't thrilled with sitting in a flimsy boat on top of deep water to begin with, had had enough. She stood her little self up and announced in a firm voice, "I'm getting out of here!"

Dad saved the day and got us safely to shore before she could actually try walking on water. He was our hero. Strong and wise and faithful. We knew we could depend on him to do anything.

It was on another fishing expedition that my perspective changed just a little bit. My Dad's younger brother had come for a visit. He and Dad decided to do a little fishing, and I got to go along. It was a beautiful day. We found our favorite spot and got down to business. At one point Dad got his hook caught in the overhanging branches of one of the trees. He reached out over the water to try to free it, lost his footing and fell right into the lake.

My Uncle almost fell in too, he was laughing so hard. And Dad, always appreciative of a good joke, laughed right along with him. But for me, something caught in my heart. I put down my fishing pole and drew my knees up to my chest. There was something about seeing my Dad fall that unnerved my little heart. I could never imagine anything happening to him, and yet here was clear proof that he was just as human as anyone else. I didn't want it to be that way. He was bigger than life to me, and frankly I liked it that way.

For some reason I have never forgotten that moment - can still feel those emotions to this day. I am blessed with a loving Dad, but He cannot be everything a little girl imagined him to be. However, I do have a Dad in my life who can. He meets every expectation and then some. My earthly father was a beautiful picture to this little girl of what only my heavenly Father can be. I am so thankful for both.

Joining Jennifer today: