I don’t take a lot of pictures with a camera or on my phone. I take pictures with my mind instead, trying to capture moments throughout my life and then convert them to memory so I can look at them from time to time. Unlike “real” pictures nobody else will ever see these pictures in my mind, unless of course I describe these mental images to them.
I read an article once about a lady who attended a ceremony at her daughter’s school, and no phones or cameras were allowed. The administrators just wanted folks to focus on their children and enjoy the moment. I like to do that with life. Although I did stop and take a picture of the funnel cloud that developed as a farmer was burning off a wheat field on the way home from work today.
I observe and take mental notes, and then spend time reflecting on what I have observed. Sometimes I share my reflections through written or vocal communication, and at other times I keep my reflections to myself. It all depends on who the message is for. Is the message just for me, or am I to share it with others? I like to share with others, because I feel like I have been called to share my perspective on life. Sharing my observations, reflections, and thoughts is part of my story … a story that I continue to figure out how best to tell.
On Sunday mornings I get to do this during worship as I prepare and share sermons, and I hopeful that I can continue to do so in the midst of conversation, through writing, and also, through podcasting. My new goal for this blog is two written posts, and two podcasts a month. I’m also in the lengthy process of editing and rewriting the first/second draft of a book I started 15 years ago and never had the confidence to finish.
The mental pictures in my head today are from the camping trip I took over the weekend with my family. Heidi, the boys and I were joined by my parents, my sister, and my brother and his two kids. Our time was spent in the Idaho wilderness near Stanley, Idaho. Our camp ground was on the banks of the Salmon River aka The River of No Return. We spent some time at Red Fish Lake as well, a family favorite since before I was even born.
The mental pictures that stand out to me are of the times we spend on the river fishing. I was fished with my dad, sons, brother, and sister. I even spend some time fishing by myself. I noticed that in my first 10 minutes of fishing I was completely calm, relaxed, and at rest. Fishing, evidently, is good for my soul. I made a mental note to make sure I spent more time fishing.
There’s a saying that starts out “teach a man to fish” and while I know what the rest of that quote says, I think the “teach a man to fish” part is sufficient, because that phrase holds a lot of truths. “Teach a man/woman to fish” and … they will be taught patience … relationships will grow stronger … time will be well spent … they will experience an adrenaline rush … be closer to God … they will have something to pass on to their children … fish will be caught … lures will be lost.
My dad taught me how to fish, and together we continue to teach my sons how to fish. When it comes to fishing I get a lot of my advice from “A River Runs Through It” and know that there is a time to teach and that there is a time for my boys to be left on their own to experience and be creative in the learning process. That’s how I learned, and that is how they are learning.
Of course this is true in other areas of life as well, as we as parents (grandparents) are charged with the daunting task of raising our children up in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it. So … we teach … and our children learn, and part of this process is allowing our children the space to make mistakes, try things out on their own, be creative, and practice away from our shadow and watch. There is lots of time for instruction, but our children also have to have time to learn on their own. As parents we are guides … let’s point our children down the right path … a path that may or may not involve fishing.