FROM THE DESK OF BROTHER TOM:(Tom Polys)
by Tom Polys
(310 Jefferson St. Richland. Ms. 39218)
FROM THE DESK OF BROTHER TOM:
Listen, my son, your father's instruction (Prov. 1:8).
The first time my father took me fishing I was twelve years old. I suppose this statement could sound misleading, since before that we had certainly played at fishing together.
Normally he would take me to a small stream or pond filled with minnows and the occasional catfish, then smile as I reeled one in with my toy fishing pole.
This was different; this time he took me north to the boundary waters of Minnesota, to a place called Basswood Lake.
The moment I set eyes on that vast track of wilderness, a small part of me knew I was about to grow up.
Basswood itself looked endless, a maze of islands covered in far-reaching green forests. Even by motorboat it took us over an hour to reach our campsite, and once we settled in I became aware of a deep, resounding silence.
For several days all we did was fish on that deep blue lake. We made shore lunch out of whatever we caught that day and at night ate s'mores while watching for shooting stars. I hated every minute of it.
What can I say? I was a doughy, twelve-year-old boy who wanted a warm bed and his Super Nintendo. I had never particularly liked fishing anyway, and sitting in a boat for hours was pure agony for me.
With my attitude, I'm a little surprised my dad didn’t chuck me overboard and be done with it. Instead, he bore it all patiently, and taught me things he’d learned about fishing, cooking, camping, and God.
It's not easy teaching a boy how to become a man, but somehow my dad found a way.
It may take gentle coaxing, it may involve some kicking and screaming, but in the end, I believe teaching a son how to grow is both the greatest blessing and challenge God can give a father.
My dad taught me so much during those times at Basswood, and looking back on it now I realize how much of it I took for granted. In these ways, and so many more, my dad helped me understand my Heavenly Father.
With Father’s Day behind us, I wanted to take a moment to write down all things for which I was grateful to my own dad, but God isn't one to pass up a teaching opportunity.
The more I reflected on how great a father my dad has been to me, the more I began to understand how great a God our Heavenly Father is to us.
Because even when we take him for granted, even when we make terrible mistakes, God's love never changes, just like my dad's love and patience didn't change for the grumpy kid in the boat.
He will always be there, firm but with arms open to say, "I love you. I will always love you. Learn from this."
May this past Father’s Day bring you many blessings and remind you of the many you already possess.