You know, I sit here looking at all that is going on around us and think about what beauty can be found in it. All this devastation, tragedy, and lives destroyed. How can there be beauty in it? I mean the amount of people that have had their entire lives washed away by an unimaginable force of nature. How can any beauty be found in that? Simple answer...
My wife and I decided we had to attempt to make a store run today and the only choice was to stand in line and wait in the rain. There were probably close to 100 people all waiting patiently in line while most were unprepared for the continuous rain we have been plagued with recently. The few that were, shared their umbrellas welcoming complete strangers to get close to their personal space to stay dry. But thats not the thing that stood out the most.
Rewind the clock a few weeks and you see more pain and suffering within our communities from rioting, violence and shooting of our law enforcement. A divide has been set by those that want destruction. They want us to hate each other. But they can not and WILL NOT divide us.
As my wife and I were in the store, a large black man, clearly in his late 40's was shopping and seemed to be distraught. His buggy was slightly in the path of where I needed to walk. I asked politely, "excuse me brother". He was adamant that I just push his buggy out of the way and was clear to apologize. We exchanged a brief exchange of "I hope everything is ok for you" and "If there is anything I can do, please let me help you.". Now neither one of us was offering empty gestures and meant every word we said. But he said something that really stood out to me and will make me remember his face for the rest of my life. He was so upset with himself for being so selfish. I told him no, he isn't selfish at all but he stopped me. He told me he felt so horrible because he has lived in his neighborhood for 5 years and has only been introduced to his neighbors as he was saving them from flooding waters.
Now, what does this have to do with kayak fishing? Well Ill explain. Yesterday morning, my son and I loaded up to go help as many people as we could. We had already had a mission set in front of us to help a friend reach her grandmothers house house to make sure her home was safe. On the way we passed our good friends Jared and Kalley Leroy in their "Paddle Wagon" bus evacuating hundreds of people. We passed more kayakers rushing towards the danger to risk their lives to help people they have never met. Law enforcement and fire personnel alike expressed their appreciation of us getting to where they could not. Every Kayak angler I know in this general area has been going non stop to help people they have never met.
I guess ultimately as I am getting older I am finding more in more beauty in the darkest of places. Seeing the way we, as a people, who are born to love one another, are uniting to reach out our hands in compassion and in faith. That no matter how bad the situation can get, the human nature is still to protect those around us. To help out when the only resource available is that of the heart.