Remember the opening scene for the Andy Griffith Show? The father and son stroll down a path to go fishing as a catchy tune is whistled into your memory bank. Well, I must admit that when my daughter agreed to go fishing with me the other day that is exactly what I envisioned. Yep, my 19yr. old daughter was willing to go fishing with me! Ashley quickly, eagerly even, agreed to go fishing with me on the first day of her spring break! That is as amazing as it sounds. No begging, guilt laying or shopping promises were used to achieve this response. She seemed genuinely excited about spending the day on this mini adventure with me and I was thrilled. My expectation meter began to rise. As I prepared my tackle box (translation: located it) and collected our bait (translation:got pepperoni from fridge) my expectation meter elevated to soaring. Soon my car was loaded up with our minimal fishing gear, a big blanket, snacks and our dog Hughie(a reluctant participant). My mood was almost jubilant as we headed to our local dock . The sun was shining, the sky a bright blue and the air was brisk.
Apparently “brisk” air at the house means “blustery” at the water’s edge. We battled significant gusts of wind determined to carry out our intended adventure. After tethering our terrified Yorkie to the dock we settled onto a blanket to prepare the lines. We set our hooks with the pepperoni slices and began to wait for the expected encounter with Mobycat, the large catfish known to be prowling the water near our dock. I eventually heard the words I desired most on this day, “Mom! I think I’ve got something!” I scrambled to pull my camera from my bag to document the victory. She struggled and worked the reel as her rod bent almost 90 degrees toward the water. Expectations were high. The excitement in that moment for us both can not be put into words. Neither can the disappointment we felt when we realized her “catch” was a case of her hook embedded in a large unmovable (non-fish) object. Let me see if I can summarize the events which followed to reduce your reading time…Our large blanket took flight and is now resting on the river’s bottom. The dog spent the entire time entangling himself around everything in an effort to eat our bait. We learned that while Hughie did not mind “turkey” pepperoni, apparently the catfish have more discerning taste. We finished off our endeavour by donating 3 hooks and some fishing line to the log collection at the bottom of the river near our dock. Needless to say the day did not meet my lofty expectations.
Usually when a day starts with such extreme expectations and then falls short the result is disappointment. But this day was decidedly NOT disappointing. I felt tremendous joy as we left the dock . I had spent the afternoon with my daughter and she had promised to go with me again someday soon! My joy was not impacted by the circumstances or expectations of the day. Too often I let my expectations determine my Joy.
John 15 contains the words of Christ as He tries to help His disciples understand just such a thing. He knew they would experience disappointment in this world. In verse 10 and 11 He tells them, and us, to focus on Him and we will know joy…”if you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; …these things I have spoken to you that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be made full.” I want that kind of joy, His joy. Joy that fills us even when the world does not meet our expectations.