No matter how much you love to fish, mornings can be incredibly painful.
Waypoints: Feelings Aren’t Truth
Learning to fish and live life.
by Geremy Olson
WayPoint: Feelings are vital emotions that can reinforce but not replace the truth.
Do you remember your first fish? Do you remember your first limit of fish? Do you remember the first time you out-fished that buddy you could never beat? Do you remember your personal best and the feelings you had. The blood pressure’s up, the chills, the sweat running down your neck, the elation of accomplishment.
Now take a deep breath… maybe call that buddy and remind him of that day, if you dare.
Now let’s take another trip down memory lane in the opposite direction. Do you remember the first time you realized you may not have enough gas to get back to the boat ramp? The first time you realized too late you had the wrong clothing for the outing. The times when the hair on your neck stood up and you looked up at a horrible thunder storm looming overhead. Go ahead and take a minute to fill in all the feelings in between the first and second list.
Feelings are part of life. As I look back, I remember the joy of all of my kids’ first fish. I remember the first time we went fishing without one of our best friends after he passed away. The excitement coming into weigh-in with my boys with six pounds more than last year’s winning bag only to take a three-way tie for eleventh.
Our feelings are the barometer to how life is going. Some days are good, some are bad, others hurt, still some motivate. What’s important to remember is our feelings don’t change facts even if it “feels that way”. A bunch of years ago when I spent a couple weeks each summer as a guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota, I ran into a situation that taught me the best lesson.
Minnesota only had seven- and ten-day non-resident licenses at the time and we routinely did eight-day trips. On one of the trips, I had some friends and family along who thought the Minnesota license rates were outrageous and unreasonable. Being a young high school kid it kind of made sense. I mean we had to license the canoes in Minnesota but they still hadn’t got us the stickers after months of waiting, so yeah, it was Minnesota’s fault. I mean that’s what we felt. So, my buddies bought 7-day licenses for an 8-day trip.
Now if we step back and take a look at my story we all have that same story; who’s going to know if I just kept one more fish, I mean one of them was going to die anyway. Why should I throw back a fish that’s going to die? Isn’t it better to just keep six? I haven’t caught a fish all year and this is finally the time that I get to catch one. I mean who’s going to know if I kept two limits tonight? Everyone else has to be cheating in the tournaments so it’s not going to hurt if I take one advantage one time. I mean why can’t I use live bait on this lake?
Well, jumping back to the Boundary Waters we put in in the morning and paddled nine miles, set up camp and proceeded to go fishing. Then the game warden paddled around the corner. I had an annual license but I cannot tell you how far my stomach fell through the bottom of the canoe. He looked over our licenses, including those who only had the 7-day licenses that weren’t actually valid yet. Then he handed them back and said good luck as he paddled away.
Starting with hope brings perspective.
Looking back, I understand that we had a game warden that day that showed us grace and taught me the lesson that when we act on our feelings, we can justify anything. But that doesn’t make it true. We deserved a ticket that day. There’s a lot of things in life that we do because it feels right but that doesn’t make it true. That doesn’t make it wise. Yes, I’m a good sportsman and just as good people we need to realize that our feelings don’t determine what’s true. It doesn’t determine what’s right and wrong.
Let’s be honest, most of us don’t feel that excited about fishing at 4:30 in the morning and then after the first big fish of the day we brag about how awesome it was to wake up at 4:30 in the morning. Our feelings change, truth does not. We need to embrace our feelings because they are part of life. We need to trust our feelings when they tell us that there’s something to fear or there’s something that we need to celebrate. But we also need to temper our feelings and not allow them to take over and make bad decisions.
Feelings are vital emotions that can reinforce but not replace truth..
(Geremy Olson grew up in the outdoors. After being burned as a volunteer firefighter, he had to figure out how to teach outdoor skills to his children from a wheelchair while learning to walk. Today he is an inspirational speaker, Fellowship of Christian Athletes North Dakota Coordinator, ND AIM Tournament Director, Outdoorsman, Producer, Wildfire Consultant & Public Speaker (GOspeaks.live) He is also the proud father of the owners of Missouri Secrets Tackle.)