What Your Heart Needs to Know about Your Feet … and Your Fishing

June 30, 2014 | 32 comments

No doubt, there were fish in the lake. And the men went out searching for them.

I watched them from the shore, pressing my hand against my eyebrows like a salute, to shield the sun. A loon cried its eerie cry. An eagle soared. The sun made that whole lake into one gigantic looking-glass of the heavens — home of God reflected here below.

And the men, they flew across the water in a Lund boat, leaving a long trail that made it look like the boat was unzipping the lake.

The sun trotted across the sky, shortening shadows, and then lengthening them again. My dad and my husband were on the lake for hours, and I would watch from shore, as they water-bugged from one place to the next.

My husband texted once: “We’re not catching a thing today.”

 

An hour later, they docked the boat. We all sunned ourselves a while. Kept our eyes open for hummingbirds and eagles. Watched the sun work its way to dusk.
And then my husband stood up and walked to the end of the dock, a few steps away.

He tossed a line into the water, and within moments, this —

“We’ve got something here!”

The weight of the fish curved the end of the pole. He handed the pole to one of the girls, so they could experience the thrill of bringing in a big one. There were squeals, and screeches, and much flip-flopping of man and beast at the end of the dock.

We took pictures. We howled with delight.

They threw the fish back, and then, minutes later. More squealing at the end of the dock. Another fish.

And another one after that.

And then a few more.

I watched from shore, smiling a smile that I felt all the way on the inside. Because I felt a truth that my heart had memorized.

A person can water-bug a way through life before she really finds it.

We imagine the other places inside of us – as we should. We want to run our fingers along the landscape of the elusive Something Else. We want to feel the contour of other worlds under our feet. We’re lured by the charm of faraway, and we’re certain that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, the other side of town, the other side of the tracks, the other side of the world.

The other side of a lake.

We feel a pull toward Other — toward any place that isn’t here.

And that’s not all bad, I tell you. Sometimes you’ve got to pack up and move and never-ever look back. It’s the only way you’ll really live free.

You’ve also got to experience some adventure in this life, and I don’t mean just by hopping a jet. You’ve got to live life out of your comfort zone. You’ve got to step to the edge of the world, and take one giant leap for the sake of your own soul. And that’s how you learn to soar — by taking that leap into the unknown. By agreeing that it’s okay to get lost, in order to get found. 



Maybe it’s a bit like Thomas Merton once said:

“The geographical pilgrimage is the symbolic acting out an inner journey. The inner journey is the interpolation of the meanings and signs of the outer pilgrimage. One can have one without the other. It is best to have both.”

But at some point, you’ve got to find what home is — a place where you can live in the present, without fear of tomorrow or regret of yesterday.

And sometimes, you’ve got to look deep inside and ask yourself hard questions, like, “Am I trying to really live my life, or am I trying to escape it?”

It’s proper and wholly necessary to explore other places inside of us … and outside of us.

And maybe wanderlust is an incurable side effect of humanity, built in to each of us by our Maker. I remember now how God “set eternity in the hearts of men.” So maybe? Maybe we might never really have complete contentment until our feet find their way into our collective Forever – that place reflecting off the water just now.

But until I see the whole of what it means to be Home, I don’t want to walk too far away from where it beats strongest in me right now. And right now is a gift of the present moment, where my feet are planted.

I don’t want to forget that for all my searching, the fishing might be best closest to home.

 

 

Joining the blog tour for Emily Wierenga’s beautiful new memoir, “Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look.” A five-star read.

I have long been a fan of Emily Wierenga’s writing. I’ve read all of her books, and many of her blog posts over the years. But this? This is the shiny gem of them all. I read Atlas Girl slowly, savoring both her story and her writing. I would read many passages twice — first for the joy of her prose, and then for the value of her story. It’s exquisitely written, beautifully layered. And then, of course, comes the message … about the inward and outward journeys that we take during our years here on earth. Her journey? It’s like this compass, pointing us always toward home, always toward the heart of God.

Highly recommended read.

Find out more by clicking here:

 

 

by | June 30, 2014 | 32 comments

32 Comments

  1. ro elliott

    oh yes… isn’t this where our pilgrimage leads us …But at some point, you’ve got to find what home is — a place where you can live in the present, without fear of tomorrow or regret of yesterday. amen… amen… I can’t wait to dive into my copy of Em’s book soon. I do love her heart 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I think you’ll enjoy her book a lot, ro. Thanks for swinging by this week.

      Reply
  2. Keith Roghair

    Great post Professor!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Keith! I should have known that a post about the great outdoors might catch your eye. 🙂

      Reply
      • Keith Roghair

        haha i read in from time to time =)
        this was perfect for a friend and I
        But at some point, you’ve got to find what home is — a place where you can live in the present, without fear of tomorrow or regret of yesterday.
        also, I bought your book off amazon and read it! LOVED IT. going to re-read soon.

        Reply
  3. Kathy Schwanke

    God, bless the broken road…that led me straight to You!
    As always, your words are lovely Jennifer. xo

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yeah. That’s the song for this post, right?

      Reply
  4. Diane Bailey

    How funny, discovering the fish almost beneath your feet! Your post has reminded me of what The Lord has it on my heart so strongly,lately – “the greatest mission field is the one right in front of you (me).” Wonderful Post, my friend.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Perfect. Yes, that. Thanks for sharing, Diane.

      Reply
  5. Karrilee Aggett

    Oh my friend… I love this so! (I am reading this book as well… slowly, to savor!)

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yes, a book to savor. Thanks for stopping by, Karrilee.

      Reply
  6. marthaorlando

    When we learn to be content with where we are and realize God’s miracles even in the smallest of things, we can live in the moment and appreciate the Father’s plan for us. Beautifully reflective, Jennifer. Glad I chose to follow your blog.
    Blessings!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Glad to have you with us, Martha. Nice to “meet” you. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Lynn D. Morrissey

    So beautifully written, Jennifer (as always!), and it makes me want to read Emily’s book, and *your* next! And . . . well, it almost makes me want to go fishing. So often we do find the most satisfaction and the best catches right at the end of our own dock. Wanderlust is appropriate at times, and yet how often we circle back towards the home of our hearts afresh, and, as T.S. Eliot said, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
    Love you,
    Lynn

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      GREAT quote, Lynn! I’m going to share that with Emily!

      Reply
  8. lindalouise

    I couldn’t put her book down Jennifer. It was wonderful. And this….well, I love your writing and your heart. These days I am so content to just be home – with these people, on these five acres. I think I’m getting old 🙂

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      So good. So very good. I love Emily. She’s a dear. And now I’m loving her mama, too. Didn’t you just love Yvonne’s journal entries?

      Reply
  9. Elizabeth Stewart

    “And sometimes, you’ve got to look deep inside and ask yourself hard questions, like, “Am I trying to really live my life, or am I trying to escape it?” This sentence penetrated deep. Very thought provoking and beautiful post.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Grateful to have your eyes and your heart here, Elizabeth. xo

      Reply
  10. Katie Kump

    Thank you, Jennifer. This is such a timely word for a week where I’m waiting and wrestling to get into the next moment, months, season of life. I want to really live right where I really am. Grateful for how the Spirit uses your words to plant hearts where He wants them. Love to you today!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Right back at ya, babe. Glad to have you hear. Enjoy your moments, your summer, and your one beautiful life! xo

      Reply
  11. Kathie Whitestone Thompson

    Thank you, Jennifer, for this post and for Love Idol. I finished it just last night! I have many underlined passages and prayers to ABBA in the margins – a treasured book to help me identify and JESUS in me kick to the curb, again and again, when necessary. any thing or one that steals my attention and worship of HIM. Thank you for bearing your soul for us – we appreciate you!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Oh Kathie! It always brings me joy to hear from readers. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I am cheering you on, and now I am praying for you personally — by name — as you continue to evict those nasty love idols! God bless you, Ms. Kathie!

      Reply
  12. David Lord

    Great image of the cleat with the rope on it. Moving stuff.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Hey, thanks, David! I appreciate that. Are you a photographer?

      Reply
  13. pastordt

    Ah, an idea. Write a story and then bring it round to Em’s book. I’ll work on that. If I can get my brain in gear – which is difficult to do these days. Thanks, Jennifer.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      🙂 I like your brain. Just sayin’.

      Reply
  14. Megan Willome

    I have a nephew who loves to fish so much that he’s happy being out on the water all day and not catching a thing. (He’s 11.) One remarkable kid!

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Me, too! I could totally hang with your nephew. How about you, Megan? Are you a fisherwoman?

      Reply
  15. melody hester

    my seven year old daughter told me today, “Mom, I just really want to be a baby again. That, or an adult.” We talked about enjoying the present and not escaping the season God has us in. There are things a 7 year old can do that an adult can’t do. Of course she asked what kinds of things and I was all at a loss and said, “Errr uhhh, hula hoop and play all afternoon and ride big tall swirly slides at the playground.” I was grasping but I came up with a few. Ha! Found this piece very timely.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      “enjoying the present and not escaping the season God has us in…” Yes, Melody, yes. That’s it exactly.

      Reply
  16. Jennifer Camp

    Oh, your words, Jennifer! And those fish! I love the encouragement to go on adventure yet know how, only with God am I free to be courageous yet planted and home at the same time. I don’t want to miss what He has. Thank you.

    Reply

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