Solitude and Surprise
I don’t remember the first time I went fishing. My dad was not a fisherman. But sometime in my early years I got “hooked”. We lived in a small rural town an hour from Detroit. Three miles down dirt roads from our house was Nichwagh Lake. Nichwagh was surrounded by woods except for the dirt road that ran along one side. Under this seldom traveled road ran a culvert. This culvert was “my” spot. I owned it, or at least I felt like I did.
My goal each day was to find someone to go fishing with me. However, neither my brother nor my friends were as excited about fishing as I was so I often fished alone. I learned through hours of discovery that often on hot days the big ones lay inside the culvert. Finding the bass that would bite upon my worm was a challenge that I loved. I often fished that spot and I think I was often fishing for, catching, and throwing back the same fish.
There are two things I love about fishing- Solitude and Surprise. The solitude is found in the quiet moments of waiting, waiting for the gentle tug of a bite, focusing on the slightest movement of the bobber, maybe it would be better called “listening in the silence” or “waiting in expectation”. It belongs to fishing and I love this part of it. The second side of fishing is surprise. I don’t fish just for the solitude, but rather I wait for the solitude to be broken. It could happen at any time and you have to always be ready for the surprise of the sudden strike on a lure or a worm. I have sat on cold breakwaters of lake Michigan, casting lures for hours upon hours, waiting for the surprise of the strike. As a boy I spent hours on my culvert, waiting with hope for the surprise of a fish.
Solitude and surprise have become a metaphor for what I love about life with God- solitude in my chair in the morning, solitude while walking in the woods, solitude while driving – suddenly the solitude is broken and I am surprised by His presence. “For God alone my soul waits in silence, from Him comes my salvation.” Ps 62:1