A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter came up to me and said, "Daddy, can you take me fishing before the summer is over?"
I cringed inside.
I didn't much care for fishing. Never really have. Partially because I don't like eating fish--something about the texture of the meat. Oh, in a pinch, I'll dig in, but it certainly isn't my favorite.
There's also the matter of a few rather unfortunate fishing experiences when I was younger. Unpleasant they were, to say the least. It kind of left a rather poor taste in my mouth for the whole process.
But then the daughter makes her request, "Daddy, can you take me fishing before the summer is over?"
And of course, the wheels in my head started turning. Most Daddys will do just about anything they can for their children (especially daughters) that is within reason. This request was certainly within reason, even though it wasn't something I would particularly enjoy. And my eldest does enjoy the outdoors--a lot. If she gets hooked on hunting and fishing--being able to provide her own food... And if she likes fishing a whole lot, she will definitely be interested in a certain type of guy when she gets older... I figured the pluses outweighed the minuses. I'd take my girl fishing.
And I already had a head start; I did have my fishing license. Earlier this year, a congregation member had taken me Crappie fishing. But I hadn't touched a rod and reel since then. But I didn't own any fishing poles or tackle. Looked like I'd have to do some shopping, and I wasn't going to spend a ton of money either.
And I didn't. But I did purchase two reels and an assortment of tackle for well under $100. I made plans to to take my eldest fishing last Friday at a local state park. I mentioned this to another one of my congregation members over lunch early in the week. A day or so later, he called me and said, "How'd you like to take Kiera to my neighbor's spring fed pond to fish there?"
"Sounds fantastic!" I replied.
Suddenly, this apparently sparked an interest in my two youngest. "Daddy, can we go too?"
Family fishing trip. Luckily, my church members had a few more rods, and they loaned them to us that morning. Only my youngest daughter caught anything. But that didn't disappoint my eldest. She wanted more.
Another congregation member has given me permission to fish on their property, so away we went that afternoon: just the two of us.
I caught a couple. She didn't catch anything.
We went out again the next evening, and she caught her first bass. She was extremely proud of herself, and she continues to beg me to take her fishing. So does my middle child. So does my son.
And here is the most intriguing part...
I have come to enjoy fishing--especially bass fishing. I generally don't like just throwing a bait out there and waiting eternally for a fish to perhaps take a bite, but I do enjoy the continual cast and reel while fishing for bass. I enjoy standing at the water's edge getting into a rhythm and exercising my body. I enjoy standing in the open air without the distractions of phones or computers or television. I enjoy trying to outwit an animal with a much smaller brain capacity. I enjoy the tug on the line, the setting of the hook, and the fight to bring the fish on shore. In just a few days time, my abhorrence of fishing has done a 180 degree turn.
I actually enjoy fishing and am looking forward to heading out again in the near future.
I can't believe I just wrote that.
(Theological reflections to follow.)