Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fish or Cut Bait, Part II

Yesterday I wrote the first part of this post where I detailed a scenario that my husband, Drew, had dreamed about cleaning fish on a pier.  While researching the possible interpretation of his dream, I came upon article after article that brought the symbol of the fish to light as one being universally sacred.  Even Carl Jung talked at great length about fish in his psychological theories. Other psychologists and researchers have mirrored those findings in their papers. (Various quotes below:)
"In Christianity, Christ is at times represented by the fish symbol (spirituality). These water dwelling animals may represent messages from our unconscious and indicate to us how well we navigate through our emotional waters. They could symbolize body and soul nourishment and navigation through the unknown depths of ourselves."
"The fish symbolized more than allegiance to the church. The Greek letters ΙΧΘΥΣ can be read as an acrostic for "Jesus Christ, God's son, savior." Fish also played a role in the story of Christianity. Jesus told his followers--many of whom were fisherman by trade--he would make them "fishers of men," meaning he would teach them to bring people to the Christian faith. Fish appear in many Bible stories including the story of feeding 5,000 with two fish and five loaves."

Fishers of men...fishers of men...a fisher of men.
I always wanted to be that fisher woman.
But alas, I lacked the patience.

When I was young and living in Fairhope, Alabama, my family started a semi-regular practice of going down to Fairhope Pier on the bay and crabbing.  My dad would secure chicken backs to the bottoms of crab traps then lower them over the side of the pier into the murky waters below.  Our job was to watch for any signs of movement from the rope affixed to the wooden pilings.  If it quivered or jiggled, we could assume that a crab or two was having a southern fried chicken feast.  We were to haul the trap back up to capture that fowl-eatin' crab.

I loved this job.
And I hated it.
The excitement of the catch was thrilling. 
The wait was interminable. 

My eldest sister, Theresa, home from college one Friday night, brought a date along to one of these family excursions.  The guy, Craig, from my 12 year old viewpoint, was a bit high falootin' for crabbing but he seemed like a good sport.  My dad rigged up the traps, and I took my post.  Not ten minutes had passed before I ran out of patience.  I just HAD to check the trap.  I pulled that rope up, hand over hand, until it reached the water's surface, only to find it empty, save the water-logged back, skin flyin' from its surface like a sea anemone.  Dejectedly, I lowered the rope down again.

Craig looked over at me and said in his collegiate, preppy, pretentious tone, "Patience is a virtue, Cynthia."  (Really, dude, didn't I just meet you?!?)  Even at twelve years of age, I knew myself well enough to realize what I really wanted to do was throttle him.  Instead my eyes filled with hot, embarrassed tears. 

Didn't Mr. Jesuit College KNOW how hard it was to wait? 
How mundane the time lag? 
How humdrum the watching?

I look back on that impatient, hot-headed young girl and still relate in my heart to her problem. 

She wanted the excitement...
the thrill...
the adventure of reeling one in.
She wanted the accolades. 
But she was too immature to display the discipline it took to be patient...

Jesus, the fisher of all fishers, calls us to this life of simplicity. 
He calls us to wait with grace...
live by example...
forebear in good cheer.
He calls us to be fishers of men -
Not by reeling dudes in before they're ready.
Not by yankin' that rope of salvation before they've even nibbled at the feast.
But to be fishers who are steadfast...

I hope to do this.
I pray to become this.
If I do, I think it's safe to say, they'll come swimmin' in.
And Lord, how thrilling that catch will be.


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