A New Ministry: Fly and Fish!

A new ministry: FLY AND FISH!!!!

Never has a fishing trip brought more than rivers exploding with big steelhead thrashing for freedom.

Needed to rent a car…and the week of incredible surprises began. Waited in line for an Alamo car rental—at the Seattle Airport. All agents were busy. [I had only one thought…well, one major thought…to see if I could get a fishing guide for Monday. Had a seminar schedule change so Monday was clear. No real answers to that question.]

I had my duffle bag [it rolls, phew!] and my fishing rod case holding one fishing rod. I was advised by my great guide [better than good, believe me], Zorba, that it was simply not viable to cast a spinning rod with a casting reel. What? Hey, I trust him. So, to be in sync if nothing else, had made arrangements to visit Tommy at 3 Rivers Marine to get a casting rod. Still, no guide for Monday.

Then, an Alamo agent came from the back office, went to a vacant station, and waved me forward. BEFORE [ah, what a question!] he saw the fishing rod case and asked, “You going steelhead fishing?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I looked over the desk to see if he was massaging a crystal ball. I told him I was on Tuesday and Wednesday, but not on Monday. He smiled, “I can help you.”

I thought, maybe Alamo hired fishing guides part-time. He then gave me the names of two fishing guides who fish the Quinault and Queets Rivers. The reason this is beyond incredible is you have to be a member of their Indian tribes to fish. Hence. No real competition. Plus, the Tribe has their own hatchery—and an understatement, they have larger than small steelhead.

We finally got to the car registration, and this huge smile in my heart. I exchanged phone numbers of e-mails with Jesse Newman. And will never forget the moment of serendipity. Oh, my.

I then talked to Zorba to fasten down details for our fishing together out of Forks, Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday and told him of the Alamo visit. He gave me the name of another Quinault guide. How could I miss? Well, made contact with the 3 guides…but, rains prevailed so the Quinault was knocked out for Monday. Still. Steelhead are in those rivers well along the calendar and if there’s anything I won’t lose it will be the contact information.

Then….yesterday’s blog shared the most beautiful visit with the mother and daughter at the Larkspur Landing.

On Sunday morning I had the wonderful, wonderful privilege of sharing worship with a dear colleague, Patty Baker, Vicor at St. Clare’s Episcopal Church in Snoqualmie. It felt so very good to preach again and then to share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Following lunch, we had such a delightful seminar on Stewardship…they are very special people. I’m so grateful to them…such dear, dear people. So much so I made a promise…that I would try to bring my favorite Cowboy, Slim Randles, to Snoqualmie, and then [it will be in October] will fish with my Skagit River guide, John Koenig, to catch many Silver/Coho salmon which we will gift to St. Clare’s for them to have a Salmon Bake as part of their Stewardship program. Will do what I can to keep that promise!

Then, on Tuesday and Wednesday, Zorba and I had what has to be as good a fishing adventure you could dream about. Except it wasn’t a dream. We caught and released about 10 steelhead, but who’s counting? It still, this Saturday morning, sparks in my heart…a joy that sustains. There’s no way I can share in words the power of drifting a bobber and jig, see the bobber dip, then plunge, do the hook-set and see the river turn into a frothing explosion. The fight is on. The fish runs and dashes and darts and jumps. I mean. My joy is unbridled when a 19-pound steelhead leaps totally out of the water.

Then. Quiet. The joy and peace [a great combination] in my heart as Bob Ball, our erstwhile guide nets the fish, we head to the shore, take a picture or two [again, who’s counting?] and release the fish…with a soft yet stronger than ever prayer of Thanksgiving. [Evidence below…]

On the return to Austin, a non-stop flight from Seattle, the passenger next to me and I visited. More than a visit. We “soared” about life, its why and wherefore, how personal challenges can be dealt with. So wonderful to listen and to know, there are people whose willingness to understand is much greater and more frequent than their need to judge.

When I got home I sat. For a good while. And tried to put the week all together. And then told Diane one conclusion: I don’t need to minister a church to be a pastor! Nope. All I have to do is fly and fish!

You think?

About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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