Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Boy Joy

The water glistened under the heat of the sun.  Reflections dancing as boys cast into the lake, hopeful but not really.
The man at the bait shop had said the best time to fish is early morning and dusk and, well, it was now the heat of the day and not even the perch were tempted.
A school of minnows jumped about in the distance...maybe something is stirring them up?
A lure flew that direction just in case.


DJ took the rod and his face lit up with excitement.  This fish was a fighter and was not going to be taken easily!  The rod bent and creaked with the strain.  My boy's 12 year old muscles tightened and held as he pulled and reeled, pulled and reeled and Aunt M who has fished her whole life and knows all about this stuff talked him through.

The line made circles in the water as the fish took it all over the cove.   Slowly, slowly, DJ eased it closer to the dock as he pulled and reeled, pulled and reeled.  Finally it was close enough to scoop up into the net and everyone gasped as a big, striped bass was lugged onto the platform and heaved under the strain.

In the absence of a scale, we guessed it was between 3-5 pounds!  Or maybe 6?  You know how fish tales go...they get bigger with the telling!

And then the feat of all feats...this mama who recruits her hubby to squash bugs and deal with dead critters brought to the back porch by the dogs took the fish by the lips (yes, I am convinced fish have lips) and helped worked that hook out.  DJ was breathless with excitement and truly could NOT believe I was in the middle of this...this high adventure and the pinnacle of boyhood.

Breathless...yes.  And smiling...oh that smile!  That smile of pure abandon and joy and wow I can do this and the feeling of suddenly becoming a man because I fought the battle and I won and look at the size of this thing!

Pictures snap and Aunt M excitedly tells him to hold the fish out as far as he can to make it look bigger.  We all laugh and he does and this day is just so, so good.

This discovery.  This realization that my son who I have to remind to turn off the TV and put down the remote and read, this insight into his heart as we near the teen years and I was nervous, it is a gift.
He came home filled up...outdoors and lake and tubing and fishing and driving a real boat for the first time...they filled him.  Swiss Army knives and a kayak taken way out onto the calm and glassy lake where he put the oar down and sat, just sat and looked and listened and this is what I believe happened in that moment:  
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Isaiah 55:12

My son was quiet.  There was no TV, no artificial entertainment, no distraction.  And in the quiet and surrounded by creation God was able to speak into his heart.  As he floated on the surface of the lake alone, he took it all in and he was changed.  He was alive and God was near.

The heavens declare the glory of God; 
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Psalm 19:1

A new passion is ignited.  A new excitement.  The mention of a lake or fishing or the retelling of the big one and the jokes about the "stick fish" (we had a few of those!) fuel the light in his eyes and I now know that we must make this a priority for the sake of his heart.  I know because, as we drove home, my son spoke from the abundance of his heart...

"Mom, I love you."

"I love you, too."  Keep your eyes on the road, don't get all mushy and ruin the moment.  Just let it be.

"That was a great week."

"Yes, it sure was,"  I said.

"That was the most fun we've ever had."

That was the most fun we've ever had...We have been to Disney World and California and Six Flags and stayed in great hotels with pools and basketball courts and great restaurants.  But this...a week of being filthy and hot and swimming in the lake and eating sandwiches in the boat and catching an 8 pound fish (*wink wink*)...this was the most fun we've ever had!
Yes, sweet boy, it was.  And get your pole ready because we are going fishing on Thursday.
This time with Katie, because she comes home from camp tomorrow!

Stay tuned!

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