Wednesday, March 25, 2015

And now....a fishing story

I promise, I'll get back to crafting soon, but until then, I'm leaving you with a fishing story.

My father-in-law loved to fish. As I was going through his pictures after his death, I lost count at how many pictures he had of himself fishing, of my husband fishing, of his brothers fishing, of everyone holding up all their fish, and of just fish. The fish looked all the same, but it was neat to see the people in the pictures age over time.

At least once a year, my husband and I would join my father-in-law at the San Juan River for a morning or afternoon of fishing. My FIL would lend me his fishing pole, determine which bait to use, and coach me as I cast and reeled in the line. Sadly, the only thing I ever caught was green gook. In the decade that I got to go fishing with him, I NEVER caught a fish. Never. Over the past few years, he would still prepare the pole for me, but when I said that this year was my year, this year I was going to catch a fish, he would just laugh at me.

I never caught a fish with him.

After my FIL's funeral, my brother-in-law and his cousins decided to go fishing. The booger really wanted to go with them, so my husband and I decided to take her out with the big boys to the river so she could cast her little fishing rod (which Grandpa had bought for her several years ago).

After awhile, one of my husband's cousins got tired of fishing and I took over his rod. He was using a chaser (I think that's what it was called) bait, so he coached me on how to reel in the line to make the bait look natural. For about ten minutes, I cast the rod out and reeled it in. Over and over. The sun started to set behind the bluffs of the river and  I decided that we probably needed to head back to the house, so I declared, "Ok, last one."

I carelessly cast out the line and as I was reeling it in, I felt a harsh tug on my line. There was this rush of exhilaration and confusion that flooded me. I knew to reel in the line, but my husband's cousin continued to calmly coach me: keep the rod up, don't reel to fast, keep the rod up.


As I was reeling in the fish, I was so excited, but I was so sad. I was overwhelmed with emotion and just bursted into sobs.

I caught a fish. I caught my first fish on the day of my father's-in-law funeral. It's hard not to believe that the Lord gave me, and those around me as I was surrounded my husband's family who knew I had never caught a fish, a special blessing. A blessing that marked the day we remembered my father-in-law as not a sad and somber day, but one filled with joy and remembrance and honor.

I wish my father-in-law could have been with me as I caught my fish, but then again....maybe he was.


Monday, March 23, 2015

When the Days Run Out

A man’s days are numbered. 
You know the number of his months. 
He cannot live longer than the time You have set.
~Job 14:5

The past six months have been so life changing. In October, my husband applied for several jobs outside of New Mexico. In November, he accepted a position with a company in northern California. In December, we packed up our house and life and moved from Albuquerque, NM to California. In January, we began our new life here - renting a house, starting a new school (for the booger), figuring out life in the new place, and adapting to the new culture. In February, we pretty much rested, with a quick, but fun trip back to NM for the Booger's birthday. 

We headed into March with confidence that life would start to settle for us. That we would finally embrace being more than displaced New Mexicans living in the lush greenness of Northern California. We were going to embrace California and move on with life, settling into our new home. And then we got a horrific call early one morning at the beginning of March - my father-in-law had passed away back in NM. 

I felt out of control of my life for the last six months as is, but what ensued those following hours after learning of his death was complete chaos. What were we supposed to do? How were we to get back home? How did he die? Why did this happen? Why now?????

We bought a one-way ticket to New Mexico and spent the majority of the month back there mourning my father-in-law and handling his estate. There were days of complete sadness and distress, and then there were days of celebration and victory. My father-in-law was a man of  God. He drank up the Lord's word just as Jesus invites us to, as living water, sustaining to life. I am not sad for him - I know he is fishing with the Lord. I am just so sad that I will not have all the days I had hope we would have with him. Of all the things we had left to do. I don't think we are ever ready for our loved ones to leave us, and I certainly was not ready for my father-in-law to leave us. 

In our culture, in-laws are often the villains.  Society seems to expect a tension between the spouse and the in-law. I was so blessed to not have this be the case between my father-in-law and me. He became a dad to me, and I became his daughter. I am going to miss him tremendously, but I am SO grateful for the time I got with him.