Fishing on Stormy Seas (A Parable)

Once upon a time a fisherman went to sea. He’d prepared his hooks and lines. He’d set his nets. He’d checked the charts and paddled beyond the safety of the harbor to a quiet cove where the skies were clear and the water still.

He threw in his line and waited.

And waited.

The sun grew hot overhead. Seagulls swarmed, snatching fish all around, but his line lay untouched.

Undaunted, the fisherman reeled in his line and rowed further to sea. Beyond the cove and the feeding gulls. Far from the view of the harbor. He secured the anchor, checked his hook and threw in his line, sure this time he’d garner a catch.

The fisherman waited.

And waited.

The boat bobbed in the tide and the waves lapped at the wooden slats. The fisherman’s stomach rumbled. He was hungry. When he peered over the side of the boat, he saw multitudes of fish, swimming just beyond his hook, beyond the reach of his net.

Frustrated, he pulled in his line. Checked his bait. Sat back and wondered. He’d researched and practiced and crafted the tastiest hook. Why weren’t the fish biting?

He threw the line in again and waited some more. The sun continued its slow path across the sky. He pulled some older nets from his bag and set to work mending them, strengthening their binds and floats. He pretended to ignore his hunger, his frustration. But from the corner of his eye he watched the line.

Soon dark clouds bloomed on the horizon. He had a choice to make: return to the harbor or risk the storm. He peered into the distance but couldn’t see the shore. He left the line in the water and rowed, but the boat was too far to sea. The winds picked up and the rain came down.

As he shielded his face from the storm, he cursed his foolishness. What was he thinking, leaving the safety of the harbor? Who was he to think his hook would be so tempting? He should have left the fishing up to the seasoned fishers of the village.

The storm lashed the little boat, tossing it about on the waves. Rainwater pooled about his feet as he waited.

And waited.

Just him, his doubts, his fears and his hunger inside the little boat.

Finally, the storm passed and the sky returned to blue, the sea to calm. As the fisherman bailed water from his boat, he saw the line dip taught in the water.

A nibble.

He coaxed the hook along as he’d been taught, tempting the fish to take the bait.

He waited.

And waited.

Until–finally–the line caught in his hands and he reeled in his catch.