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Oceans For Emotions: Lessons from the bait bucket

By By Elaine Wheat
Jan. 20, 2012 at midnight
Updated Jan. 19, 2012 at 7:20 p.m.

Elaine Wheat

"Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

- Matthew 11:28

When I had finally finished fishing today, I sat on the beachside to rest in my rusty lawn chair and put my faithful yellow bait bucket beside me.

On this cold winter day, I had no one else to talk to, so I just talked to my bait bucket; what are friends for?

My bait bucket seemingly talked back to me and said, "Everything you need to know about life, I can teach you."

So, I listened to him intently.

His voice gurgled up through the opening of the bait bucket's face, and he said, "Elaine, when I get too heavy, put me down for awhile."

This morning, I had waded through marshy salt grass for about 50 yards before I had reached the back bay I planned to fish.

And that bait bucket seemed to get heavier with every step I took. My crimped left hand would hardly open to let go of my bait bucket into the water.

I realized that if I had put it down once or twice on the way, I would then be able to hold my rod and reel with hands that didn't hurt.

Other things flashed before my eyes as I realized that I had other things in my life I needed to put down to enjoy my life to its fullest.

My next lesson from my bait bucket started when he said, "Elaine, stop trying to run with a full bucket. You just slosh all of the water out, and the live shrimp are becoming dead-on-arrival shrimp when you need them."

I said, "Thank you, bait bucket; slowing down can apply to a lot of my life."

My bait bucket said, "Wait a minute, Elaine; we've got a few more life lessons to learn. You have to get rid of the dead shrimp before you put fresh live ones in. The left over dead ones will only ruin the live ones if you try to keep them together."

I looked deep into my soul and realized that I had some stinking thinking taking up room in my heart, and I had to get rid of this to have room for God's love to fill it.

Bait bucket said, "Stay with me, ol' girl; our life-lessons are almost finished. When you wade fish, tie me onto your belt loop with a stringer with perfect slipknots. Then, tie your fish stringer on to my handle with another perfect slip knot. That way, I will float away from you, and your strung fish will float away from me. If a shark comes, it can eat out instead of eating you."

I will never forget that lesson. In life, I won't stand too close to tempting things, or I may become eaten up with bad things of the world.

Dear Lord, I always knew bait buckets carried my bait, but I never knew that they carried the life lessons you wanted me to learn. Help me to be big enough to learn from the little things in life.

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