Catch and Release


Many years ago, I had the opportunity to go deep sea fishing in the Sea of Cortez.  We were about five miles out when something unseen grabbed the line and began pulling us farther away from the shore. The two guys on the boat began speculating about what could be doing this.  At that time (and maybe now for all I know) catch and release was the gentleman’s way of fishing in Baja. Catch a good one, let it go. So the discussion was about how they would let it go. They were gentlemen, right? This went on for well over an hour without even knowing what was on the line. But they had agreed – catch and release. Gentlemen.

Then the fish jumped out of the water and we were able to see for the first time what was dragging us along – a huge blue marlin. It seemed to hand suspended in the air just over the horizon while we all stared, open-mouthed, but speechless. It was incredible!

Immediately, the talk changed. All the discussion about catch and release disappeared as quickly as the marlin disappeared back into the sea.

The first thing out of the mouth of one of the men was, “how much freezer space do you think you have?”

So much for catch and release.

Another hour or so later, the marlin lay on it side by the boat and they were able to determine that it was about 17′ long. Magnificent and tired, it lay there, awaiting its fate.

While the guys were discussing what to do next to keep it, the marlin caught its breath, broke free and swam away.

It’s so easy to think that we hold things lightly, that we are willing to let go, if need-be, that we truly get that what we hold dear in our hearts and in our hands was given to us by God and He rightfully owns it all. It is easy to think that, until we are faced with letting go.

I am facing letting go of reasonable expectations and hopes about our future. I am facing letting go of my plans, my dreams, my ambitions even though none of them were ungodly. I am facing letting go because cancer has invaded our family and put dreams and expectations and plans on hold indefinitely.

I am choosing to release but it hasn’t been easy. I don’t like change, especially when it is imposed on my by something out of my control. That marlin was magnificent in its release; my hopes and dreams will be magnificent in release also. And only God knows when and how and if they will be caught again. Until then, they are in His hands.

There is something freeing and frightening at the same time about letting go. About laying aside carefully thought out plans and dreams and learning to take things one day at a time. Be my peace, Jesus, be my comfort while I open my hand and let go of all that I have held onto so tightly. Help me, as I purpose to take one day at a time, to enjoy the simple moments: the sunshine, the flowers, the smile from a stranger, preparing the dinner we all love and the family and friends You have blessed me with. I trust You with my hopes and dream. Amen.

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