So this week hasn’t been the hottest for landing fish for me. I got out on the river four nights and didn’t land a single one. It’s one thing to have a fish on, battle with him a bit and lose him despite your best effort so at least you can come up with an excuse for why he got away, and entirely another when you seriously suck. A couple nights ago I missed about a dozen hits for no good reason at all. Last week I had fabulous luck with a big ugly hopper that was attracting fish with every other cast and now this week the fish have changed their minds yet again. Picky little turds! And everyone can stop telling me to use a size 20 snarky pale little dry fly. What is the point of tying that one on when I can’t see the darn thing out there? In my opinion the best fly to tie on is the one you can actually see!
Of course I’m not gonna walk around saying “Hey, today was the best day of fishing ever. Nope, I didn’t catch anything but I learned so much. They all got away and it was awesome!”. Nah, I’m gonna post pictures of when I land pigs so that you can always think that I spend all of my time being the best fly fisher ever.
My point is that even fly fishing can breed contempt the more familiar I become to it. Most of the time literally is spent switching out flies, casting, snagging a tree on my back cast, climbing trees, casting, casting, casting, watching my husband catch lots of fish, and myself not seeing much action while saying under my breathe “It’s not fair”. But then there are those few moments of fighting fat fish, landing them and remembering that jolt of excitement you get that erases the hours of all the mundane stuff. I feel like fly fishing is such an example of the rest of my life; which is that there are those moments in between the work and learning that are amazing, but if I’m not careful those glorious moments will eliminate and misplace the value of where most of my time is spent in the daily.
You don’t see any of us taking selfies whilst opening bills, getting the oil changed (I’m overdue on that), snagging flies on our waders, walking from the car to the office, telling your kid that they don’t need another cup of water tonight and to get back to bed (for love of God!!!) and all the other things that are required of us to make our worlds go round. We all define ourselves by our triumphs, the moments when we reached the summit, got that degree, walked down the aisle, see our kids take their first steps and all of those sorts of milestones.
But what about what makes the most of who you are and where the majority of your time is spent? Why is there no praise for that? Did you feel a dose of profound humility in the moment when you won the challenge? Or can you place the humbling times better in the hours of work, monotony, and having to ask for help over and over again from others who are better than you?
As a newlywed I can see how I need to choose to take in those moments with my husband that aren’t just when we’re looking like a couple of cool kids loving life out on the river or traveling to incredible places but rather when we are talking candidly about finances, how much money to put into my car, and the phone calls we get at the end of the day when he’s away for work (if we’re lucky enough that he’s got service wherever he’s at). We have mountains and valleys in our lives but do you see us staying on top of our peaks continually? No, you don’t. I absolutely feel that we need our times on the mountain top but to not misplace all our value by thinking it’s all in those sole moments of standing there. We are designed for spending the majority of life in the valleys, climbs, and the way back down. It’s where we forgive, grow, love and live.
Life requires each of us to put in passionless hours, hard work, failures, resets and the choice to never let go of hope that we are becoming who we are called to be in the end. Our character is never made when the moment doesn’t require it of us. Marriage doesn’t last because you feel exactly how you felt on the day of your wedding but rather by the continual choice to honor and to love even when love is costing you a lot. Careers don’t happen because you absolutely love what you do all the time all day long and if that were the case we would all quit our jobs by next Thursday and not even try to make it to the weekend.
So when you are looking at pictures of other people living grand adventures, making friends with cool people, relationships that are thriving, and families that are getting along perfectly don’t loath yourself by comparing while you’re sitting at the kitchen table avoiding the dinner dishes at 10:45 pm on a Saturday night. Please don’t do that to your soul. Just realize that for every one of us humans, most of the time surrounding our defining moments is mundane but it’s time that’s valuable because it’s making us us. See your own value in those times when you are doing the best for your kids, when you have to admit you need advice in relationship, and when you decide that you need to see your counselor again.
Honor where your time is most spent by asking yourself what part of you needs to grow in this experience. What can you learn? Who do you need to encourage and affirm? What can you do to help your spouse through this again? What tools can you find to become well after being unhealthy for so long?
Don’t get me wrong. I want every single time of fly fishing to be fabulous, and a lot of the time it’s not. But I know that when the fish are being picky turds is when I’m learning the most.
With so much love,