I love fishing the river. It provides so much more than the occasional fish. From the scenery to maneuvering through rapid water, fishing in the river demands some thought, coordination, and planning, along with the smallmouth that I come to expect. And it also provides a different experience whether one is fishing in a boat or a kayak.
Last week, I met two friends at the river with our kayaks. Now these kayaks are the fishing kind. They have rod holders, places for fishing gear, and they are made to sit on top of and not down in. They are really nimble and easy to maneuver. But they are also built low to the water. This means that using an anchor is difficult unless the flow of the water is pretty slow, otherwise the anchor holds and water comes rushing over the top of the kayak. The difficulty then, with a kayak, is staying on your fishing hole and not floating past it. During my trip last week, the water was higher than normal and thus the flow of the water was much faster. I found myself unable to fish some of the spots that normally I would have and instead spending most of my time trying to maneuver through swift water. Don’t get me wrong, these were not class 3 rapids or anything close, and there were places that we could relax and move back and forth up and down stream. But it proves my point that you just never know what the river is going to throw you and the boat you’re in will always determine to what extent it affects you.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus said, “You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you.” What can be said about a river can also be said about a day. We can never step into the same one again. Each one will offer its own unique characteristics. In my river I find that each calm area is between two difficult ones. There is always the difficult water that I just left and the difficult water that lies up ahead. In my life, I find the same thing – if I am enjoying calm days, it is simply that I am between two difficult ones. The boat I sail in will not only determine how I traverse the hard days ahead, but it will also determine how much I enjoy the trip. You see, if my boat is too small, I will dread the testing waters even when I am in the calm ones, but if my boat is big, I may only barely notice the rough ones.
Many years ago, I chose to get in the boat provided by the Almighty. Since that time there have been some rough waters, but He has safely guided me to this very moment. And the more I have experienced His protection, the more days I have enjoyed living, even when there may be difficulty up ahead.