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Pride and Regret

Pride and Regret,

I had been fishing these trout ponds all summer but this was a special night. It was about 8:45 and the sun was casting an incredible light on the face of Longs Peak. The pond was dead still and on my right was a huge bull elk who had ventured over and was grazing about 25 feet away. On my left were two good friends, Brent and Dave. Over their shoulders to the left, huge billowy clouds and distant thunderstorm. The scene was perfect.

I hadn’t caught anything yet but the pond was named Sasquatch so I was hopeful. I noticed some trout surfacing near the edges of the pond and cast my line parallel to the bank on my right. He hit hard and I knew he was a big one. I yelled for for help from Brent who came running. He was fighting hard and I gave him room on the line to work out some of his energy. When the rainbow flashed his side at us we could see it was about 20 inches, by far the biggest of the summer. The bank was tricky, steep with a drop off in the water and I wasn’t sure how I was going to land him without a net. I knelt down and raised my rod but couldn’t get him close enough to grab him. Brent offered to grab him for him while I held up the tip of my rod up but I wanted to do it all by myself. Unsure I asked the more experienced fisherman, “Should I just grab the line this last bit and pull him in that way,” “I wouldn’t” Brent replied. In a moment of panic I grabbed the line about 4 foot above the fish with my left hand and put my right hand in the water and took a hold of my trophy catch. At that moment the fish flipped out of my hand and broke the line. For just a moment the fish remained a foot or so from my hand in the water, fly in his mouth, unsure if he was free. He was suspended there, as if to taunt me, then he was gone. That haunting moment is frozen in my mind.

What if I had let Brent help me bring him in? What if I had listened to his advice and not grabbed the line, would it have still broken? What if I had quickly tried to grab the fish as he lingered just a second near my hand? Regret is just a word but carries such powerful emotions.

I woke up early the next morning, lying in my bed, running through the scenario. I had caught this trophy rainbow but never got it on the bank, no picture, no closure, only regret. Why, what happened?

Pride! Another simple word filled with meaning. Why didn’t I let Brent help? Why did I choose to ignore his advice about grabbing the line in my hand? I wanted to do it alone and I thought I knew better. If there is one sentence that could summarize much of the self-induced stuggle in my life, that is it. I will say it again, I wanted to do it alone and I thought I knew better. Pride, the sin that leads to regret.

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Jan 29, 2022

Wow Mark, great spiritual/practical lessons you've dug up! thanks. Kim

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