Pushed Away
Off the Wall, Mar 20
, 2014

We who have boats or even had them in the past have knowledge of one thing for sure. When we push away from land and head out into the wide open space of freedom, there’s a feeling we get from within that knows no other. I know this because it has been a sensation ever since I experienced it firsthand.

And now that my boat has been sold and gone forever, I have only to hold on to memories of that perception that are so much part of history, indeed, a recollection of inner peace.

The first time I experienced this was through my longtime friend, the late Michael Stein. He used to take me every Sunday preferably to Conemaugh Lake where we enjoyed fishing together.

He usually loaded up his boat with everything but the kitchen sink, but still saved room for me. I would sit up front preferably to push the boat away from the shore pulling myself in once we got into a little deeper water. He would then start the trolling motor and then we would be off in one direction or another.

As soon as I pushed away from the handicapped dock, we floated freely for a few seconds. It was as if God was palming the boat and delivering it to quiet waters. It was His peace we were feeling, freely given with only the effort of separating ourselves from the shoreline.

I felt the same feeling when my buddy Steve used to do the same on Keystone State Park Lake. We’d go through the same motions and I sensed the same outcome once I pulled myself aboard. Each time we spent three to six hours eagerly trying to net some species of fish from the depths of the murky waters.

Once we started fishing, that peace disappeared, for from there on, our trips became a little more toilsome. True, I may have felt continued bliss if I didn’t fish, but I’m not one to go just for the ride. Addict anglers don’t reason that way.

Sports-minded individuals can tell you, there is nothing like owning your own boat. I considered it my favorite play toy that I bathed, vacuumed and even beautified with dabs of paint on occasion. This was my baby and I treated it with kid gloves.

For a period of time either an employee or my brother-in-law would pull it to one destination or another where we would launch it.

Now, I have watched serious fishermen back their fully-equipped, power-packed, fiberglass floatation devices into the water, park their vehicles, race down to their boat, hop in, raving the motor up and speeding off. I can also imagine that their breakfasts consisted of two cups of coffee and little else. It was off to their favorite hole and that was that! There was no thought to pushing away as we did and sensing that peaceful feeling that only God can give.
Anyone anywhere can seek God’s peace. It’s there for the asking.

God is willing to share peace among those who are willing to receive it. It is His gift to us through the Holy Spirit. Once we recognize its origin, then we know where and to whom to turn when faced with adversities.

In a sense, do we want to be like the anglers who jump into their boats and motor off, or rather sit in a 14-foot V-haul or Jon boat and feel His presence in the way of peace as we push away, gliding aimlessly from where the boat was moored? It was as though our problems were left on land and we were freeing ourselves from them.

Last summer a friend took me fishing on a regular basis to Twin Lakes. I rented a paddleboat and he would take responsibility of doing the leg work. Once we anchored, we would go about our duties trying to catch panfish, bluegill in particular. Enjoying each other’s company, we either talked or just enjoyed the quietness of our surroundings.

Noting the tranquility about us, he said, “There is a certain amount of peace out here that can’t be matched while back on land.” I can only guess he was feeling God’s gift.

Talk to our Lord. Faithfully build your relationship with Him. Ask to be blessed by the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Just as I felt His peace in my boat, you can do likewise in your life.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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