Words from a burning heart

by Tim Stouffer

Fishing opener is always an interesting day of the year for me. I’m always full of anxious anticipation. Got my license, got my rods and reels ready to go. A couple of new lure models that I’ve carved and painted over the winter are thrown into my tackle box. The night before is spent tossing and turning in my bed dreaming of getting up at just the right time and catching my limit before the sun comes up.<BR><BR>The actual morning of opener has usually dawned absent of the sun. Since we’ve moved to Ely, I’ve witnessed rain, fog, more rain, snow, ice still on, more rain, rain-filled clouds, in short - white caps and wind blown despair. And then more of the same.<BR><BR>Opener is tough fishing. That’s what I’ve learned. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun. It only makes next year’s dream of quick success under the sun even larger. It also doesn’t mean you won’t catch fish. You might just get wet doing it. It will take longer. Shore lunch might be boat lunch with one tentative hand minding your jig.<BR><BR>What makes the day interesting is it is a singular example of patience and perseverance. A day with many people all willing to spend hours, the whole day if necessary, in a boat. For those that fish with others, that can make for a long day. It is day when family members and long time buddies can actually spend quality time together. All with a common goal. While the early bird may get the worm, the patient fisherman will catch fish.<BR><BR>Anyone, regardless of age, can achieve success with the sport of fishing. What’s more is they can have fun doing it. They can actually talk to each other while in the boat or canoe. They can observe wildlife. They can dream. Could this make a difference? Sometimes the fish are biting. Sometimes they are biting somewhere else. As the saying goes, though, any day fishing is better than every day at work. Something like that anyway.<BR><BR>Perhaps we should start a “Love your neighbor” opener. If we could all get together and concentrate on the needs of others for a whole day, regardless of results, heedless of our own rewards, we could really cause some ripples in the lake of humanity. Well, there is always time, the “good samaritan” season never really closes. Licenses are free for the taking.<BR><BR>Just like fishing, though, helping others really isn’t designed to be done on your own. You’ll have more success if you take along someone with more experience as a guide. Jesus knew on which side the nets should be lowered. He wants to help others through you. His strength can last and is much more effective than our own. We’ll burn out and give up if we try it without him. After all, he learned from his Father. I think they know a thing or two about fishing.