IT SEEMED AN ODD GETAWAY for church guys.
What’s that got to do with church?
Fly-fishing is just a normal guy thing to do. Not a church guy thing to do.
But we have an enthusiastic fly-fisherman in our church. He went to the pastor and suggested a fly-fishing retreat for any of the men who would be interested.
The pastor bit.
From what I hear, he didn’t nibble. He bit hard.
I didn’t know the fly-fisherman very well, but he seemed a likable fellow worth getting to know better. So I bit, too.
Three others in my Sunday morning Bible study group did as well. Including a single dad who got prodded into it by his fiancée. The dad is a schoolteacher with three children, two of them who have been chronically ill throughout much of their lives. His fiancée said he needed some time away from his oppressive routine.
It was certainly time away from it all. No cell phone reception in the wooded river valley where about 20 men from our church spent the weekend fly-fishing.
The teacher and I roomed together. Neither of us had ever fly-fished before. So the enthusiastic fly-fisherman loaned us his equipment. He even gave every man on the trip a set of flies-on-hooks he had tied himself.
One thing shocked me when I reached the stream.
The water was clear.
I could see everything.
Even the trout facing upstream, some holding their position, others swimming about.
It has been a long time since I have seen a clear stream.
Autumn colors peaked and cloaked the hills in yellows, reds, greens, and brown. Above, nothing but blue. Temp in the 80s – in late October; who would have believed that?
I knew just a few of the men going on this trip.
We didn’t spend a lot of time with each other. A body needs elbowroom to fly-fish. But I did get to fish near a few good souls I had not known before. I know them better now. I’ll be talking to them in church instead of walking on by.
I’d like to say I had some big religious experience over the weekend – something particularly moving.
There was nothing big that happened. Not to me, at least.
Just some little stuff.
- The enthusiastic fly-fisherman loaning out equipment, getting back one rod broken by the fish that swallowed Jonah, and then refusing to take any money for the busted rod.
- The gentleman who loaned me his waders after he saw me fishing from the bank.
- The friend who drove five of us down to the river, 4 ½ hours each way.
- The pastor, setting the pace for the rest of us by fishing as though Jesus had told him where to cast his line.
- The shrink on the trip who saw me struggling to pull in the only fish I caught, and who told me to pull it over to the bank where he netted it for me, took out the hook, hung the fish on the stringer, and then videotaped me with what would become my supper the next day.
Just little stuff.
The stuff of life among the souls traveling with us on this journey.
Maybe I should stop wondering why Jesus picked fisherman as his best friends.
Fly-fishing, the video
The first thing I did when I got back home was to piece together a five-minute video from scenes I taped on the trip.
I did it for the men who came with me. But maybe some of you will enjoy it, too. I’m pretty sure most of you will like the music.
Here you go: Fly-fishers of men: rookies on retreat.
Spanish edition of Who’s Who & Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0
I have a few giveaway copies of Quién es quién y dónde es dónde en la Biblia 2.0.
If you know someone you think would like the book but might not be able to afford it, email me. I don’t have many, but I do have a few.