Someone once observed that fishing is for brain-dead people—folks who are content to cast their bait upon the water endlessly with little on their minds. I understand their point. When I fish I am happy to clear my head of workplace issues, unfinished projects, and problems with people.
But while my thoughts may idle in neutral, my spirit brims with hope.
So I cast.
Every cast pregnant with hope.
In a six-hour day, casting once every forty-five seconds, avid fishers will throw their lure over 400 times and then reel, reel, reel. Steelhead trout are so elusive we call them “the fish of a thousand casts.”
That’s a lot of hope.
I find the same principle in relating with friends. Success in building strong bonds and enjoying peak moments often come only after much hum-drum casting. Making meals side by side, taking walks, helping with housework, and watching hockey lay the foundation for more significant conversations about fears, dreams, hurts and faith.
We figured this out in the 80s and 90s when dual-income parents allowed kids to come home after school to hollow halls. The myth was that busyness didn’t compromise quality time with your kids as long as you booked appointments with them and spent it nose-to-nose discussing important issues. But we learned that adolescents don’t open up on school issues and growing pains unless trust has been developed through mundane quantity time.
In short, we can’t blow in, busy about, and hope for significant relating. Redemptive relationships begin with time together enjoying the everyday.
Maybe it’s time to do something average with the people you love. And as you do, look for a nibble here and a tug there. One thing is for sure: We need to keep casting.
When Shelaine and I were first married earning entry-level wages, we sat down and made up a budget for spending, saving, and giving. One general rule we agreed on was to consult each other regarding purchases over fifty dollars! Today that limit is higher, but the principle is the same—we ought not purchase big ticket items without the other in the know.
Finances are but one area we negotiate with people close to us. To learn of more I asked thirty-three students to write down everyday decisions they had come to with family, friends, and roommates. Interestingly, several said “We don’t really agree—we just let things happen.” Perhaps this is a millennial thing, but wisdom says it’s better to put expectations on the table to avoid trouble.
The little study ended up producing scores of agreements which fell into six categories:
These covenantal themes remind us that we travel together, knitting our quality of life through little choices along the way.
Bill Strom, Author
I am a believer by faith, a professor by vocation, a husband by choice, a father by blessing, and a friend by hanging out. Along the way I have learned about close relating through my experiences, biblical models, and social science research. Hopefully my ideas and encouragement show up here in ways meaningful to you.