It has been a busy week, more than any other week. Just when I thought I was trapped, something else showed up without my permission.
That’s what life is about. I remember my father telling me when I complained about how busy my life was and that my employer wanted me to do a lot of work: “Son, that’s life.
Without a doubt, he was right. My father has been right many times, and if he had only listened to him, he would not have experienced some of the problems that I had. Don’t let him know I said that.
In the middle of trying to fix my mess this week, I leaned back in my chair, sighed deeply, and then noticed my old fishing pole in the corner of my office.
It’s been there since we moved into this house. I forgot it was there, and looking at it, I remembered some of the times I had with that old fishing rod.
I smiled and thought to myself, “If only that fishing pole could talk,” what stories could the fishing pole tell?
When I was young, I spent a lot of time fishing. My grandfather taught me the art of fishing. He was a great fisherman and had many great stories about his fishing adventures.
I remember one day I spent fishing with him. That night, around the kitchen table, he began to recount his fishing exploits. I sat there listening in awe. The stories he told had nothing to do with the day we spent fishing together.
He would look at me in the middle of the story and say, “Isn’t that right?” Of course, I will never contradict my grandfather. I know that one day I will be in their shoes and I want to make sure that I have earned the right to wear them.
Nodding my head enthusiastically, I’d say, “It sure is, Grandpa.” He would smile and continue with the story.
Looking back, I wish I had taken notes on all of their stories. It would have been a fascinating book to read, I’m sure.
It’s not that fishermen lie; they rearrange the truth. What good is the truth unless you can embellish it for the entertainment of those who listen?
My grandfather certainly entertained people with his stories. I never knew whether or not people believed his stories; no one ever contradicted him. They listened, laughed, and enjoyed every story he told.
Once, after one of his narrative episodes, we were in the garage working on some of his fishing gear. We were alone, so I thought it would be a good time to find out what he was doing.
“Grandpa,” I said thoughtfully, “where do you get all those stories about fishing that you tell us?”
He looked at me, laughed heartily and said, “I have all those fishing stories going out to the creek and fishing.”
Then he looked at me, winked at me and said, “Just remember. There is some truth in every story I tell. It is up to the listener to find out what is true and what is not.” Then he let out a laugh.
With a solemn look on his face, he continued, “The thing about fishing is not just fishing, but entertaining your family and friends with what you could have done if it had gone your way.”
As I was sitting in my office looking at my fishing pole, I began to understand for the first time what my grandfather was trying to say.
I spent a little time reflecting on some of Grandpa’s stories, and even now, I was laughing. Their stories never get old and my laugh never goes away.
One of the things I learned from my grandfather regarding fishing is that you should make the most of everything you do.
I remember a friend who went fishing and came back in a bad mood and complained that he wasn’t fishing at all. It was no fun being with him, certainly. All he could think of was what he didn’t do.
My grandfather was quite different.
“Did I tell you,” Grandpa began, “about the fish that got away?” He never expected an answer, but went straight into the story, and every time he told that story, the fish got a little bit bigger.
Everyone would laugh and enjoy the story almost as much as Grandpa did telling it.
The fish that got away was more important to my grandfather than the fish he caught and brought home. Once you bring the fish home, cook and eat it, that’s the end of it. But the fish that got away is a story that goes on and on.
I could never find out if my grandfather was lying or just exaggerating. Being my grandfather, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and just remembered his stories.
As I thought about my grandfather’s stories, I remembered something Jesus said. “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
My grandfather might exaggerate his fishing stories for the enjoyment of all who hear him. When it comes to the real truth, the only truth that matters is Jesus Christ. Only your truth can truly set us free.