…beside the still waters

Sometimes it is only when we look back that we fully understand. It is only the perspective of “the rest of the story…” that allows us to fully appreciate the Hand of God in our lives.

And so it was for me this summer. I spent the better part of June and half of July between jobs for the first time in my career. This wasn’t exactly by design, but I accepted it and appreciated it for what it was – a break. A period of quiet to spend with my wife and kids, to spend catching up on chores, and to spend catching fish – or at least trying.

WV Rainbow

I learned a while back to accept what comes… Amor Fati. We can’t control our fate, as much as we would like to. But we fully control our emotions, our decisions, and our actions. And as always happens in our lives, seasons change, and so in time I knew that on July 15th my summer sabbatical would abruptly end. With this bookend looming, my friend John and I committed to getting out on one of those thin blue lines.

WV brookie

John and I headed out on a clear morning that ushered in a hot afternoon with blue skies overhead, and the shadow of mountains darkening the morning valley. The water was in the upper 60’s but felt much cooler in those pools that end up a little deeper than you first anticipated…

We took turns, graciously watching the other guy as we fished our way upstream. It took us four hours to go just over 600 yards as we carefully and deliberately fished each hole and savored each catch.

As the morning passed by, I became aware of my existence. I could see us wading the mountain stream, I could hear the fish break the surface, hear the clicks of the reel, feel the downdraft through the canyon…the warm of the pockets of sunshine through the canopy, and the sounds of water over rocks… I knew this moment and these senses would pass, and that they were a gift. And in the moment of that realization, I felt peace.

In my mind I was surrounded by one thought, over and over and over again….”He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.”

And then I fully understood my summer, my pause…my reset… the restoration of my Soul; accomplished only by quiet, by contentment, and through time spent knee deep in the clear water of mountain streams.

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