Holding Onto My Childlike Faith
Holding Onto My Childlike Faith
It was opening day of trout season. The spring weather didn’t seem to be cooperating with the anxious fishermen, as they awakened to a light dusting of snow. From a young girl’s point of view, the only problem I could see was getting out from underneath my warm blankets and facing the chilly cabin. As my bare feet tiptoed across the wooden floor, all I could mumble was brrr, but I was ready to brave the elements for this adventure.
Dressed in several layers of clothes, I sat shivering on the metal bench of the boat as my dad and I got ready to set off. Looking over the side, I wondered if the fish were frozen in the lake or if it was too cold for them to be hungry. I imagined myself dangling a long pole into the water full of fish-shaped ice cubes.
Hours after the crack of dawn, when the avid fishermen had already staked out their spots on the watery hole, my father rowed our small aluminum boat to a leftover spot. We weren’t in our secluded place long enough to even get bored before something magical happened. The jerking motion I felt coming from underneath the glistening water tugged at my emotions, as well as my fishing pole.
I wasn’t sure what was trying to get my attention at the other end of the pole, but whatever it was, there was no doubt in my mind that it was trying to pull me in with it. I knew I needed my dad’s strong hands to help me bring in my catch. His eyes were filled with excitement as we shared in the anticipation of what was to become my favorite childhood memory.
My dad kept bragging that it was going to be a big one. I beamed from ear to ear as he helped me reel in my trophy. It wouldn’t have mattered to me if it turned out to be a mucky, large tree branch attacking my fishing pole. Being able to spend this rare moment of time with my dad was enough for me.
I giggled hard as my dad finally yanked the fish right out of the water, like pulling a loose tooth. The silvery, rainbow-colored fish bounced around our small boat while Dad tried to pull the hook out of its mouth. We kept trying to remember to quiet down, so we wouldn’t scare all the other hungry, cold fish away.
As we headed back to the dock, Dad proudly shared my news with all the fishermen we passed who had been camped out since sunrise on the water. He wanted my big fish weighed as soon as possible. There was a lot of commotion being made over how I, a young girl, made my debut as a fisherman.
At the store by the lake, I was happily surprised to learn that my fish was the biggest one caught for that first day of trout season!
The dad who took me fishing that day was one of four fathers who have come and gone throughout my life as the result of adoption, divorce, and remarriage. Even as I have struggled with feelings of being abandoned numerous times, my favorite childhood memory was one thing no one could take away from me. My “fishing dad” has left me with a lasting impression of what a father’s love means to me.
Now, years later as an adult, I sit on a weather-worn log overlooking that same crystal-clear water. I have come back to a place I’ve dreamed about so many times in my life. The beauty of nature is still as breathtaking as ever. The mountains that almost touch the sky look as though they are sprinkled with powdered sugar, and the peaceful lake gently dances over the rocky shores at my feet. I feel God is “leading me beside still waters to restore my soul.” Remembering the strong hands of my dad helping his little girl catch her very first fish, I see the strength of my Heavenly Father. I picture Jesus, arms outstretched, reaching to all the ends of the world with His powerful hands, surrounding my life with the blanket-like warmth of His care and protection.
Trustingly, I hold onto my faith with hope and anticipation — the same way I hold onto my fishing pole bobbing over the water. I feel God’s reassuring hands wrapping gently around mine as I experience not only the magical moments of life but also its challenges.
Sometimes, we have to recapture our faith through the eyes of a child to witness God’s love with a pure and true heart.