Thursday, May 31, 2007


Tonight we had two of the men involved in our program over for the first time for the fly-fishing part of our program, Tim Tewws and Ron Smith. They ate a meal with us while sharing their stories of fly-fishing, went through the basics of fly-fishing, and went through the full large scale spectrum of fly-fishing. Details included.

It was a big moment for me. Having two men care so deeply for the program, and wanting to be with the young men and invest in these guys for the summer.

My story with fly-fishing really began in Knoxville, TN with my friend Jonathan. We went multiple times to the small streams in the smokey mountains of Tennessee to catch fish. I had no clue how to fish, how to tie a line, a leader, or any clue where to cast, but we went. Hoping for a big one.

Looking back I see my ignorance, and my fear of asking the men at the fly shop, teaching, training, or words on how to catch a trout. I went looking for something, and I thought it was the trout. Looking back now, I can see I wanted so much more.
I can remember walking into the shop off Kingston Pike. A world I was afraid of. I had to look like I knew what I was doing. Although I felt like a boy in a man's world, I was too ashamed to walk in, and ask for help, and share my need. It was a world of men, and although I wanted to enter, I wasn't about to let the boyish parts of me out, and ask for help.

I love it for these young men, they are given men to teach them. Tim and Ron are incredibly gifted men, with a passion for fly-fishing, and are so eager to teach, and tell their stories, and show their pictures. We had a great night with them. All the guys were so eager to lean in, and learn, and ask questions.

Even after the night, they have yet to touch a fly rod, or put on a fly-vest, and cast a line, but that is the beauty of it. They are entering slowly, and through story, and at the hands of men. Little by little. We will get out on the river, and they by God's grace, will bag some fish, but that is not the point. At least not for now. It is to learn the natural way. Not by googling fly-fishing, or finding the right fly at the store, but by sitting at the hands of men, and learning, and listening, and progressing to the next stage.

There were some tears tonight, lots of gratitude, and comments by the young men of how they cannot believe these guys want to teach them. A part of fathering, of men wanting to offer, their passion, and guide them. It has taken them by suprise. We are not used to it in this world.

It is about fly-fishing, and catching trout. But there is so much more. As Ron said, "it is when I have a trout in my hand, and he is settled, and I am all alone in the river, that I experience Jesus."

This is really the greatest gift in the world, to experience this with the guys and walk them into it. And I cannot wait to see them on the river, with fly-rods in their hand, with flies they tie on their own, and with a fish on their line.

No comments: