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Oceans For Emotions: Stop whining, get off of your knees, and catch the lesson

Dec. 16, 2011 at 6:16 a.m.

By Elaine Wheat

"Peace I leave with you ... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

- John 12: 27

It was Christmas Day 1969, in the year of oh, Lord. It was the first Christmas after my dad had died, and I needed to be with my mother. It was also the first year after my divorce, and my boys had gone to be with their dad for Christmas Day, and my mom felt like she needed to be with me. So, there we sat on Christmas morning just daring anyone to call and say, "Merry Christmas."

All of our friends in our little town of Goliad had invited us to share in their Christmas, but we couldn't choose one without hurting someone else, so my mom had just told each of them that we already had plans. Yeah, right, we could sit there and cry together or do something. She broke the tearful silence by announcing. "Let's go fishing where nobody can find us." I started gathering up our fishing stuff, and I only lost it once when I unwrapped the red hoodie that I had planned to give Daddy, but he went and died before he could even wear it. My mom made turkey sandwiches that were left over from Wednesday night church supper, and off we flew right down to Ed Bell's marina on Indianola to fish off his pier.

We sat right there and caught our share of redfish, what the freezer could hold. That was before limits of inches or numbers. We plopped them on the fish cleaning table and my mom said, "I'll scale, and you gut and gill them."

I said, "Redfish are hard to scale. Let me do that and you gut and gill them." It was then that we learned one more fact of life, "Women scale, and men clean fish." The saltwater in the air off the ocean must have stung both of our eyes because we really started to tear up.

About that time, Ed Bell started home for his every day nap, and he wandered over and said, "You all caught plenty of fish. What are you crying about." We told him that we didn't know how to gut and gill them, so we just to put them on ice till we get home.

Ed said, "Where are your men?" My mom said in her nicest Christian voice, "They are gone. One is dead and the other divorced. Show us how to gut and gill, Mr. Bell, and we will do the rest."

We learned a lot that day and even got good at cleaning fish.

Dear Lord, that day, so long ago, you taught us that you had already given us peace, but we have to stop our whining and weeping to get it. I believe in prayer, but sometimes you expect us to get off our knees and catch it.

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