It’s Sunday afternoon with a couple of hours of bright sunlight left. My wife is in a novel for a while, it’s unseasonably warm and the day is too good to stay inside. What does one do in January in northern Minnesota? The list isn’t very long in my case. I do have several passions, one is fishing; two, fishing from the canoe; three, fishing from a boat; four, ice fishing (you see the progression here).
I was still in my twenties (wow it’s been 30 years) when I began to put parameters on this strange obsession (in-law talk). I loved to hunt and fish alone. It was my time to adventure on the lake or in the woods. My rod and gun they comfort me time. I am not proud to admit I was young and selfish taking off with three small kids at home and a fantastic wife who loved me but was worn out by the end of the day. So I would come home from work and grab the rod, hook up the boat or load up the fish house and head out. Life was good (for me). You psychics are excited because you know where this is going.
Between these paragraphs lies 30 years of life, learning to live life to the fullest with my outdoor passions, raising a family and releasing the kids into this wild world. Growing instead of dying in a relationship with my wife is an ongoing great adventure, and the rock-bed foundation of a growing relational experience with God has allowed it to happen.
The “i” word. It’s still not natural but intentionalfor me to make a phone call to someone off a long list of people who have said to me “Gary, could I go fishing with you sometime?” (Kids word it this way) or “Gary, could I go to Boundary Waters with you?” I suppose it’s that word that might make me seem less selfish and a little more mature. It does bother me that I’m still asked the question “what are you going to be when you grow up?” maybe because I don’t know the answer.
My main parameter for outdoor adventures is simply this; whenever possible, don’t do it alone. It’s loose, I still get my alone time (later today I will probably be alone on the ice) but I go with guys who love the outdoors, and take a lot of kids who want an adventure. I am intentionally living the outdoor adventures of a mentored mentor.
I cherish a card slipped to me the other day in my church mailbox. The lines from a mother choosing her words said it all. “Thank you for letting (son’s name) come with you Saturday. I know it wasn’t your original plan but I prayed that God would bless you for it. I know it was huge because he chose you above a night with his school friends. May you be blessed because you spent a day in the life of my son”.
Mentor-ship matters. Giving and getting balance out in the long run. I think Jesus said it best “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). I know He said it about Himself and his death to give life to all who would believe and follow Him but the principle is true for us as well. How were you mentored? How are you mentoring today? What does the “i” word mean for you? I can truly say ” It’s worth it”.