letter

Not Just Fishing – An open letter to my dad

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Sunrise @ Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

7/22/18

Dad,

I just wanted to take a moment and let you know how much I really appreciated the fishing trip to Canada this year. I know I said “Thank you” in person, but it just didn’t seem like enough. I have so much gratitude for what you have done and the chance you have given me and my daughter to do this together. There are a lot of things I want to say, so I will do my best to convey them concisely so I get them all in.

Thank you for the work you put in so many years ago. Thank you because the work you did in the past, owning a business and investment properties, has paid off. Over the years there have been many fishing trips with you, and typically there is very little cost to me or my siblings when we have decided to go. You have always covered the majority of the costs, leaving us with minimal expenses to and from the fishing location. I realize this isn’t without a substantial cost to you. I also realize that you have the means to do it because of the wise choices you have made in the past and the hard work that was involved with that. God has blessed you because of your choices and your faithfulness. Thank you, because it hasn’t gone unnoticed

Thank you for the memories you created in the past. As I mentioned before, there have been many times in the past that you have taken me, my siblings, or all of us at one time

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Another sunrise.

or another on a fishing trip. Whether it was individually or together as a group, there was something special about it. We had time to talk, to share, to be in God’s great creation. We’ve seen the beauty of His wonder and marveled at the spectacular sights. We’ve laughed at situations we have found ourselves in, we have laughed at each other, we have grumbled a little (ok, sometimes a lot), and we have felt loved no matter what. As I sat on the boat, waiting for a fish to take the bait, I realized that all the years of trips to remote places are some of the best memories I have. They aren’t necessarily specific, though there are many of those, but they all just kind of blend together to create a collage of memories that involve a fishing pole, water, and fish. Whether it was standing in the rain next to a stream or baking in the sun on the ocean, those are memories to be carried for a lifetime. Talking about life, playing games together in the camper or lodge, dragging in small fish and big ones too, those are memories that have an impact.

Thank you for letting me include my daughter this year. I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive to have her come along since she would have to get up early, not have much access to the internet and her friends, and that sometimes fishing can be boring. I know she can be difficult, especially now in her teen years, as the attitude can run amok and make things not so enjoyable for those around her. I was excited, however, for her to experience the things I did when I was a kid. I have memories of fishing with you, obviously, but there are also memories in my head of fishing with grandpa and grandma too. Those memories are a little fuzzy as I was really young, but they are there nonetheless and they make me smile. So, I was anticipating this trip and having a chance for her to fish with you. I could not wait for her to have what I had as a kid.

As the trip unfolded, and now as I look back, I think there is some obvious evidence that she had a good time, despite the challenges I was anticipating. There was some grumpiness, but not nearly to the level that I feared. I think a large part of that was because of you. You were patient with her, spoke to her with love, and didn’t push her to do too much. How do I know she had a good time? Did you hear those giggles and see those smiles? She did a lot of laughing, at us mostly, but it was worth it! And the smiles? img_4932Well, who can’t help but smile after working hard to get a fish in the boat? The fact that they were her first ocean fish makes it even better! She reeled in by herself a giant Yellow Eye she couldn’t keep (and her disappointment in that) was surpassed by the joy in getting her first King salmon. Regardless of whether she did it by herself or not, you were there the whole way and coaching her with patience and love. It was awesome to watch you two, working together, to make that history happen. Thank you. It is another special memory for me to tuck away and hold onto. I also know that she will do the same, though she may never express it.

Another thing I realized while sitting on the boat this time around is that we weren’t “just fishing.” I couldn’t help but think of a country song by Trace Adkins that has been on the radio for some time now and as I ran through the lyrics in my head I couldn’t help but relate to the song on a deeper level. I think it not only relates to the experience my daughter just had, but I think back over my time fishing with you and it also applies to me (though the details are obviously different). Sure the words may not apply directly to her, or to me for that matter, but the message of the song clearly does. There was always more to this trip than just fishing. In fact, it has always been that way but it took this trip for me to see it. This time for me as the father.

The fish were not plentiful this time and the frustration of not getting them in the boat may have shown a time or two, but what was plentiful were the memories being made and that is what really lasts forever. Thank you for taking the time to make those memories with me so long again (and continue to make) and for taking the time now to make those similar memories with my daughter, your granddaughter. They are incredibly special and I appreciate the chance to make them with her.

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First King salmon (Chinook). 16 pounds of rod & reel fun! Look at the smile!

Who knows what the future holds? No one. We may never get to do it again, or at the very least she may never choose to do it again, but either way the memories will endure. There will come a time when we can look back and remember those times, those laughs, those smiles, those giggles. I hope there are more chances in the future to make more memories like that, but if not then I am happy to tuck these away and cherish them as priceless treasures.

Thank you. Thank you from me. Thank you from my daughter. Thank you.

Love,

your son

 

Aborted: Valentine’s Day Love Letter to Myself

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I can’t escape this day, so I might as well embrace it for what it is. What it is, is time to give myself some love, something I have neglected to do for a long time ever.

I have written about Valentine’s Day in the past. I don’t have a love affair with the idea of the day and maybe probably actually despise it a lot little. But something I have never done is actually given myself some affirming words on a day that is should be dedicated to me love. So, let’s give this a try and see how it works out…

My Love Letter To Me

You ARE enough. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone. You don’t have to be everything to everyone, and you shouldn’t try to be. YOU are enough the way you are.

You ARE unique. There is no one like you and you already stand out for the right reasons. YOUR uniqueness shines through in all that you do.

Abort, abort, abort…

OK, that is as far as I got. It totally feels foreign. Awkward! Why is it so weird to talk about myself in this way?

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The truth is that I am not good at this. I guess I have never been very good at accepting compliments, let alone taking them from myself. Maybe I never will be.

I am hard on myself. Always have been. My humor is self-deprecating, but that’s probably a reflection of the fact that I don’t see much that is valuable. I know I am valuable, but affirming it of myself, from myself, is not something I’ve been good at. Is anyone good at it, really?

I suppose most of us probably avoid this sort of thing because we see others who may be good at it but we feel like they are being conceited or full of themselves. “Well, lookie here. Who got up on his/her high horse today?”  We don’t want to come across as someone who is full of themselves so we do the exact opposite and then it turns into a habit, where we beat ourselves up and tear ourselves down.

Oh, for the love of Pete self…

So, has anyone written a love letter to themselves before? How do you do it? Got any hints, tips, pointers?

How did you feel while you were writing it?

How did you feel after you had done? Do you go back and reread it once in a while?

The great mystery here, at least for me, is how to love myself AND actually feel it without feeling like it is phony self-talk. Is that possible?