In today’s Devotional we learn the value of teaching our kids and grandkids the outdoors.
Bible Study Verse
“Love each other as I have loved you. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” John 15:12
If there was ever a woman that loved the outdoors, it was my grandmother. Her fingernail polish and manicure was always covered in dirt from working in her flower beds or from gardening. Our favorite pastime was to go on walks and to fish. Even as old as she was, the woman could always out fish me! We were competitive, and would joke about who was going to have the biggest catch. She wouldn’t bother with the fancy rods, reels, and bait that I would haul along hoping to have the advantage. Instead, she would have me climb the barn stairs up into the loft and get down her trusty 12 foot long cane pole. We would then proceed to hunt earthworms under anything we could flip over, keeping the occasional grub worm as well. Set with her coffee can of worms, we would decide on a spot to fish. We would talk about the wind, the time of day, and the temperature in order to decide where we wanted to go. On one spring day, she decided to fish with a pole that had 2 hooks on the line. Legal in our state. Only putting a worm on the bottom hook, she assumed she would catch one fish.
Let me quickly explain how she would bring her fish in when one was on her line. Imagine gripping the cane pole with two hands, stepping back, planting your feet, then flinging the pole straight out of the water and over your head sending the fish on an unexpected carnival ride. That was her signature move. She figured out she was sturdier this way so she didn’t fall when she backed up. With that being explained, we continue this story. She plopped her red & white float out on the water next to a spring flowing into the lake. After several casts of having her worms stolen by hungry bream, she searched the bottom of the coffee can she had in the shade to find her best worm. She was determined not to get bested again. She tossed her line out to a nice shady spot under a low lying oak branch, and wiped her brow with a handkerchief. All the while, I was coming up short. She made sure to let me know that fish do not like my plastic worms. They like the real deal. All of a sudden, her float disappeared. She planted her feet, squealing with excitement, ready to set launch to the poor unexpected bream. I laughed watching her. This time the pole didn’t soar out of the water as usual. She glanced over at me as she began backing up carefully. “What’s going on here?” she mumbled to herself, determined to not lose what was on her hook. I reeled my line in to help. To her surprise, splashing at the bank, were two nice bream off one cast. “Well, I declare! Would you look at that. I didn’t even have bait on both hooks! You try and pull that off with what you’re fishing with! I’d say I won today!” she claimed, giggling full of life. We continued to fish a little while longer. As the sun sunk lower and the mosquitos began to buzz about, we packed up and drove back to the barn. That was one of her most favorite trips to the lake. She would share that story with anyone that would listen while contentedly picking the dirt from underneath her painted manicured fingernails.
I deeply treasure those days. When she passed, it was a ripple in time that was felt across four generations. Her hand had woven such a beautiful quilt of life that kept everyone warm and comforted in some way or another. We all have that special someone in our lives that leaves a permanent imprint upon our soul when they depart this world. We are forever changed by those special souls that shaped us. Perhaps we do not understand quite how much until they are gone. Childhood is a vulnerable place. Yet when we have a grandmother, grandfather, or, if we are really lucky, have both that love us despite our awkwardness, a friendship is born that rivals all others. We are special to them. As we get older, they become the compass north that rights us back on our path because they know us through and through. My Nena was that for me. I will forever be changed because of her love. Now I am also forever changed because of her absence. There’s nothing more soothing than to hear our grandparent’s say, “I love you” when you feel your worst (while fixing you something good to eat because that always helps too). Now, I close my eyes and imagine her smiling at me like she always did, encouraging and believing in me… Love is powerful when it’s carved a legacy upon your heart. We, in turn, honor them by loving like they did, seeing the best in those that long to be seen, reminding others that they are enough, and helping each of us believe in the endless adventures and joys in life. It was just several days before she passed that she said to me “Live your life, sweetheart” as her green eyes gazed lovingly into mine. “I have lived mine. Now you go and you live yours fully, you hear me?” I promised her that I would, and she smiled her warm, loving smile. It was one of those statements that carried a lifetime of worth. Let this remind each of us that we have one incredible adventure to live. Let us live it fully or else it will live us! When we find our lives at the close, may we be blessed to be able to look back, knowing we left a legacy of love that carries on for generations, touching countless lives like they did ours!
Sportsman’s Tip of the Day
Fish really do like the real thing! Stop by your local bait store, gas station, or hatchery and pick up minnows, worms, or crickets to change up your style a bit. You might be surprised what you reel in!