Priscilla stood by as Gaff tended his rods. Today was a heat wave for February, but she stamped her feet for warmth. He could see her impatience in the movement: waiting for his complete attention. Gaff threaded bait on the hook and cast the line into swells beyond the waves: he’d seen some big ones jumping this morning. They looked hungry.
As soon as they settled into their places, Gaff in his chair and Priscilla on the cooler, Priscilla launched into a tirade. “I’m having to deal with my father again because of mother. Ehhh. My sister is taking his side now, too.”
“I thought you weren’t talking to your sister these days.”
Priscilla’s mouth was an angry slash. “I wouldn’t, but she’s inserted herself into this thing so I can’t avoid it.”
“Hmmm.” Gaff looked up and down the beach and then at the tip of his rod. It was too still, not even moving with the waves. He pushed himself out of his chair and moved to the rod. He tugged it from the holder and pulled on it several times before he reeled in the line.
Priscilla reached him just in time to hear him curse under his breath. She smiled. “Fish took your bait already?”
Just then the end of the line was pulled onto the sand. He shook his head. “Not just the bait, but the whole rig—hook, weight, everything.” He walked to the wagon to dig in his tackle box for a replacement.
Priscilla laughed. “I’m still doing the lessons in that workbook and the one for today is all about seeing peace. Seems like a good one for you right now.” She fished in her jacket pocket for some index cards. She waved these around and laughed again. “I write the lessons on these cards so I can remember them during the day.” She read from the top card, “ ‘I could see peace instead of this.’ That’s the one for today.”
Gaff groused as he attached the new hook to his line. “Damned fish would have to start the day by taking my hook. More work…” His voice trailed off.
Priscilla shuffled through the cards and read from another. “The lesson for yesterday is ’There is another way of looking at the world.’ For the day before, ‘I have invented the world I see.’” She looked at her friend with a smile, eyebrows raised. She cocked her head, waiting.
Gaff baited the new hook and cast his line into the water. Just as the hook hit the water, the sun broke through an oddly shaped hole in the clouds and cast the shape of a heart on distant swells. He pointed and they stood admiring the sun’s tribute to the special day of this month: Valentine’s Day. Gaff laughed from deep inside. “Looks like the sun’s celebrating the love in this world!”
Then he turned to look at Priscilla, hands on hips. “So to feel more love, I could change the way I see this situation… If I focus on the blessings, I would feel more peaceful about losing my hook?”
She nodded, still smiling.
“OK, I will see this as an indication that the old fellow out there is so hungry that he’s ready to jump on my hook the minute I can get it out there. By eating the first bait I threw him, he’s going to calm down and not snap my line again.”
Priscilla laughed. “And you could see his strength as adding to the sport of pulling him in… when you do.”
Gaff turned to look toward the place where his line entered the water. “I do like a challenge.” They were quiet for a moment before Gaff turned to Priscilla. Now he was smiling. “All kinds of fish are in that ocean. Diversity is part of what makes the fishing fun. Some of them seem to jump on my hook and others play this game with me. Be boring if every one were the same.” He nodded and then added, “I guess people are like that, too.”
His companion cut her eyes from water to Gaff. Suspicion colored her voice. “You’re not going to say that my sister and Dad are a blessing to me?”
Gaff chuckled. “Just might be that they volunteered to help you learn some lesson. Hard one to avoid because they’re family members. You just told me that you can change the way you see that situation so you find peace in it. What’s stopping you?”
Priscilla drew her mouth into a frown and squinted in the direction of the ocean.
Gaff shook his head. “Didn’t you just say that I invent the world I see and that I can see it differently—invent a new one? Well, if I can, why can’t you?”
Priscilla hurrumphed, but said nothing.
Gaff turned toward Mother Water. “For someone on a spiritual journey, you seem to want to sidestep the tough lessons that you’re being offered by your dad and your sister. You told me that if it isn’t love, it’s fear. What are you afraid of?” A quick glance at his friend.
Another hurrumph. She squinted at the horizon.
Gaff mumbled under his breath, “Seems to me that we’re awfully good at manifesting, but we manifest first what we fear most. Might be that we react to things as though the worst has happened already and that encourages people to do what we fear. Could be that we attract into our lives those bad things.” He shrugged. “Maybe we should work more on learning to handle fears… We’ve talked so long about feeling your connection with the Source that we’ve forgotten to talk about dealing with the shadows in your self. That’s a reason for connecting to Source… to get help with the tough situations.” He smiled at Mother Water and then looked to the tip of his rod.
Priscilla played the statue. Her voice came out of the quiet. “I have faith that everything is in divine order and that good will come of it even if it doesn’t look the way I thought it would.” She shook the index cards in her hand. “I know these lessons are telling me to focus on the objective facts and to deal with just those without making wild predictions about the future or a meaning based on past experiences.”
Gaff added quietly, “What happened in the past is gone except when you bring it into the present.” Then he nodded at some thought in his head. “Maybe the hardest relationships to deal with are the ones with the most to teach us. This calls for another talk with the spirit of my dad… we didn’t see eye-to-eye about a lot of stuff.” He turned to the woman next to him. “You’re lucky you still have your dad and sister here to talk things out with.”
Her words spat out into the sand. “As if…” Then she stopped before slowly adding, “I guess I should.”
The old fisherman turned toward Mother Water. “For someone on a spiritual journey—like you—these situations are just exercises in the classroom of life, not things to avoid.”
The tip of Gaff’s rod jumped: big fish there, hooked. Gaff grinned.