“Catch and Release” is one of those bittersweet expressions that is common in the fishing community. Careful to remove the barb from the flies used in trout fishing, among other regulations, the whole point is that the pleasure of the sport is in catching the ‘big one’ and leaving it for another to enjoy. The bitter part is the temptation to bag the whopper you just caught in order to drop it in the black skillet for dinner. It’s almost too much to bear. Yet, to allow someone else to enjoy the sweetness of the singing reel means carefully removing the fly with hands pre-wetted in stream water and releasing the trout back into the water with minimal trauma.
When we first came to Trenton back in the summer of 1999 our intention was to leave the barb in the hook and bag this one to take us home. Looking back, it was important for us to learn the lesson of the ‘catch and release’ principle. In truth, I have learned that the journeys of life rarely leave you where you ‘entered the stream’. Taking the metaphor a little further, things that enter the Lord’s streams and stay in the same place for very long are often inanimate…things like deadwood and boulders.
For several years the Lord has been guiding us through a journey that has reminded us that His stream is ever flowing. While He takes us as we are, He never leaves us there as He shapes and molds us into His image. First, however, He must break us to prepare us for the journey because a necessary ingredient to being a faithful disciple is wholly selling out to His leadership, His will, His discipline…and, when the time is right, He will open the door to move us to where He wants us.
It is in these times of transition that ‘catch and release’ takes on a new meaning more associated with Jesus’ words about the plowman who is always looking back to see where he has been instead of looking forward to where he is headed in Luke 9:26. I like the way the message paraphrases the verse: “Jesus said, ‘No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.’” In this case we look back to catch our bearings and then set our sites on a door that is opening before us and release ourselves into His leading.
Stated clearly, at the end of June Pamela and I will once again join together in ministry at the St. Joseph Church of Christ in St. Joseph, Michigan. We trust that we have caught the leading of the Lord as he as gently guides us to this new beginning. Consequently, Southshore Counseling, LLC, my private practice here in Trenton, will be closing at the end of June.
Fortunately, after losing my last provider I was able to maintain my email address and website. Also, I will continue to provide counseling services at my Trenton office until the end of June.