I climb the small hills that surround the creek, one slippery rock at a time. It was my favorite part about going fishing with Dad. Whether or not I caught a fish did not matter in comparison to the sense of adventure that I felt when walking through the woods with Dad. Except for the morning that my brother came along with us, and I caught a fish before they ever did. Dad’s face lit up with such a sense of joy and pride, and my little eight-year-old heart could not have felt prouder. I always made Dad put the worm on the hook, but as soon as he got the line ready for me, I would fling the line out and it would land on the water with a smooth plop. I would stare at the bright orange bobber that sat calmly on the surface, listening to nothing but the water as it calmly ran downstream, the birds’ early morning song, and the occasional woodpecker that would try in vain to interrupt. Most of the time it was just me and Dad, and we often sat in silence as to not disrupt the fish. After a few hours, we would climb through the woods and over the rocks, back to his grey Chevy pick-up truck. Whether or not we caught a fish, we both knew without a word that it was a successful day.
Ten years later, and I am again climbing. This time, it’s the small slope up the ramp that leads to the airplane that promises to take me three states away from Dad – Dad and Mom and my brother and sister and all that I knew and loved. Whether or not I got a window seat or sat uncomfortably in between two overweight men did not matter to me in comparison to the weight of overwhelming desperation that was lying heavy on my heart – desperation for things to be back to the way that they always were. I looked back and saw Dad standing at the top of the stairs. His face lit up with such a sense of joy and pride in the woman that I had become, and tears sprang to my eyes because my eighteen-year-old heart could not have felt prouder. Dad had gotten the line ready for me. He had done his part in raising me to become the woman that I was, and now it was time for me to fling the line out – to step out into the unknown, to walk into the adventure that was before me, to “put the worm on the hook” for myself as Dad had taught me to do. Looking back at Dad, it was clear that we both knew without a word that these eighteen years were a success. Now it was my turn to pass on what he had taught me, and to step out into this season of life that he had been preparing me for all these years. Early Saturday morning fishing adventures were only just a part of it.