Deeper Waters

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We’re most alive when we step into waters that are deeper than our experience and training have prepared us to handle

I have to admit, the truth of this principle did not hit me right away.  In fact, my first draft said: Do not wade into deeper waters than you are equipped to handle.  Depending on your personality one of these phrases probably resonates with you much more than the other, and for those who like to have life structured it is not likely the heading.

There I was, deep in the Oregon wilderness on an old logging road that leads to nowhere.  The perfect place for my brother and I to find a remote mountain stream – well, okay it was really a river.  Equipped with my waders, a box of native Oregonian flies, and an Orvis rod and reel, I was ready for action.  I even had Polaroid lenses on so I could see the fish in the river.

Steve, my youngest brother, also donned the appropriate gear and followed close behind.  After an endless hike through bear-infested woods, we came to the rushing river we had heard in the distance.

Wading in Deeper Waters

Wading in, we immediately noted that the river bottom was laden with mossy round boulder-like rocks and was very unstable.  We were also quite aware that the rushing river was quick and powerful, however, the trees along the riverbank drew us deeper into the stream.  After several casts, I caught glimpses of salmon nearly 120 miles from the ocean making their final voyage to their spawning grounds.  Steve, not having Polaroid lenses, was unable to see them so I suggested that the deep pool upstream on the other side was likely holding a prize number of them.

It should be noted here that Steve had felt bottom waders and I did not.  Carefully he made his way across and cautiously I followed. To our disappointment, there were no salmon in the hole. However, there were two beaver ponds where small trout were surfacing. We switched gear and proceeded to catch small but very rewarding trout.

Crossing the River Again

As the day drew on it was time to cross the river again. However, we had wandered further downstream and the thought of crossing it again seemed ominous.  Steve, with his boots made for such occasions, found a seam and started cautiously across. Following behind him, I immediately realized that one slip and my wife may be going home alone. Later that night, in a cold sweat, I woke up from a nightmare. I was gasping for breath as I felt my boots slipped out from under me in the cold stream.

I took a pen and in the dark wrote the phrase: Do not wade into deeper waters than you are equipped to handle.  Having pondered the phrase for quite some time; the truth of it still resonates, but I am torn.  The times where our team waded into turbulent waters that lead us to where we are at today.  It was there that God showed Himself stronger than the obstacles.  My resolve: get felt bottom shoes and fish more beaver ponds!

Sabbatical Take-aways that Will Impact Your Campers this Summer by Ken Riley, Executive Director at Lake Ann Camp. 

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