“Should we go to church instead?” my husband, George asked.
“No, God doesn’t mind if we bond with nature,” I said, “Besides, He’s the one who made the great outdoors. He wouldn’t have done that if He didn’t want us using it.”
“Well, maybe we should take the Bible along anyway.” George said
“Yea, I can read the boys a story on the way.” I agreed. I was certain God wouldn’t mind if we went fishing on Sunday morning, so long as we taught our two young sons something about Him while we were at it.
We packed our poles and our cooler, and the fat, juicy worms I’d dug up early that morning.
On the drive, I read the story of the miracle of Jesus feeding thousands with just a few fish. Nolan and Kramer, our sons, asked a few questions about the story. I felt certain this was God’s way of validating our excursion.
We were on the lookout for a good fishing spot as we bumped along the curvy road by the creek. Someone had already snagged our usual spot, so we drove on. Soon we saw an even better place: flat, spacious, perfect. The creek was wide enough here that the boys could play in it on one side while we fished on the other.
We pulled into the makeshift parking place, and I retrieved our gear while George went to check out the creek. Nolan and Kramer immediately jumped in the water while I yelled, “Be careful! No, don’t go over there! Keep your shoes on or you’ll get cut on something,” etc, etc.
George took the cooler, complaining, “There’s quite a bit of trash scattered about, Kristie.”
“That’s all right.” I said, “at least it’s a nice, flat spot.”
George set up our chairs, and spread out my blanket. Our habit was that I would sit beside him with my line in the water, get frustrated after not getting a bite within five minutes, and head on over to my blanket. This morning was no different. After just a few minutes of getting not even a nibble, I walked over to my blanket, and shed my shorts and t-shirt to reveal my bikini-clad skin to the heavenly sun. I lay down and watched my boys for a few minutes. They all looked so happy, and I said a little prayer of thanks to God for giving me such a wonderful, loving family. I lay back to read for a while, then glanced at my watch; it would soon be time for us to eat lunch. I figured I’d better take a few more minutes to rest though because once we ate, Nolan and Kramer would most likely be bored and want to leave.
After several minutes of resting my eyes I felt a rather large shade come over me. I glanced up, expecting to see rain clouds gathering. Instead, there was a group of elderly men and women, all in their Sunday best, surrounding me, staring at me as if I were the scum of the earth.
I jumped to my knees and scrambled about for my clothes. “Honey!” I shouted as I pulled my shorts and t-shirt on. I was more frightened than embarrassed. I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised to see these people donning hatchets. They glanced around at all the trash, (including beer cans). It was obvious they thought this was our doing.
George didn’t hear my calls for help until I was right behind him. He turned and greeted the hoard cheerfully, as he’s prone to do, “Hey, how ya’ll doing?”
One old man spoke up, “We’re a fixin’ to have a baptizin’ here.” He all but bit our heads off.
“Oh, that’s wonderful!” I said, meaning it. Here was a great opportunity for our children to see God’s work.
The old man spat towards my feet, and turned to join the others gathering around the baptismal hole.
Feeling shunned and hurt, we loaded up our things. Because our pick-up was blocked in now, we had to sit in it until the baptizing was over. As the multitudes walked by us on their way out, I made sure to hold my Bible up, open to show I was reading it.
Our children learned a very important lesson that day: if we are to be fishers of men, we mustn’t toss the minnows back in the water.
Confession: Some of you may recognize this story – it’s several years old and was originally written as the creative nonfiction it truly is (names have been changed), for a local newspaper that I contribute nostalgic pieces to. Yes, this is a true story that happened to me and my family, a story I won’t soon forget…..
The picture is of my sons fishing in the creek at one of our several special spots, around the same time we were “baptized by fishing”.