I have come to greatly enjoy the art of fly fishing. I call it an art, because I’ve learned that it involves way more than just tossing a hook into the water and waiting for a fish to grab it. Fly fishing involves a technique that needs to be finely tuned and practiced. It may not be that the cast makes much of a difference when it comes to actually catching a fish, but it sure looks a lot better when you’ve figured out the form.
One of the reasons for my newfound love of fly fishing is the setting in which it takes place. The caricatures we tend to imagine of fly fishermen standing waist deep in a river throwing a line back and forth isn’t actually too far from the truth. There is something deeply peaceful and calming about wading into the cool water, quietly casting the line and waiting for something to happen. Even if the fish just aren’t biting and the hook never feels a tug, at the very least a person was able to stand in water up past their knees in peace and quiet for a few moments or more. This is hard not to enjoy for most people.
For me, fly fishing is therapeutic. When I feel the stress of my life beginning to weigh me down, when my shoulders feel the pressure of all of my responsibilities, when I’ve been too much in my emotions or my thoughts have been clouded and confused, these are the times when I need to be in the water. Some might call it “communing with nature.” Others might see it as an escape. I consider it a recentering of my life and a maintaining of my sanity. Not only this but I see it as a gift from God – this opportunity to find calm and tranquility and practice a skill – and it’s a gift that I want to enjoy for as long as I can.
Art. Therapy. Skill. Peace of mind. Recentering. It’s amazing how many benefits one simple activity can bring about in a person’s life; how simply devoting two or three hours to something you love, even once a week or once a month, can bring so much good to your mind, body, and soul.
These lives of ours are gifts themselves. And they are gifts that we need to be cherishing and caring for and keeping a close eye on if we want them to be enjoyable for all the days that we have been given here on this earth.
I’m reminded of some words from the book of Ecclesiastes, where the writer has this to offer about this life we’ve been given:
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.”Ecclesiastes 5:18 ESV
Finding enjoyment in the toil. That seems rather oxymoronic. But I wonder if this is what the author is saying to us:
You are going to have toil in life. Not necessarily trouble or grueling pain or hardship or suffering but, very simply, work. You are going to be busy. You are going to have experiences that make life less than easy sometimes. You are going to have to carry out tasks and perform functions and fulfill responsibilities. This is everyone’s “lot in life” and this itself is a gift from God.
But, in the middle of all of that “toil”, you can find enjoyment. You can eat and drink and enjoy what you partake of. You can enjoy the fruits of your labor and the blessings that come from the work that God has given you to do.
But, when that toil becomes overwhelming, you can still look to God for the enjoyment that He wants to deliver to you, because God wants us to experience His joy and goodness and to give glory and honor to Him for what He allows us to have.
So, for me, fly fishing is more than just therapy and art and skill. It is worship. It’s the manner in which God has allowed me to experience the kind of enjoyment in life that comes from Him. And, even through standing waist deep in water and casting a line to wait for a bite, I can glorify Him.
Our worship of God is not just in song or Bible reading or prayer. Those things are necessary and good and right. But our worship of God is also in the way in which we receive the blessings He bestows upon us – eating and drinking and enjoying the fruit of our labor and experiencing the enjoyment of life in a million different ways.
So, worshiper of God, enjoy your life. Find a river. Pick up a book. Take a nap. Find a trail to hike. Sing a song. Write a poem. Build something. Create something. Do the thing that God has put in your heart to enjoy, the thing that brings you peace and joy and satisfaction, the thing that you can use to bring more worship to Him.