With only the low hum of his boat motor to break the silence, William experiences a sense of stillness as if time has slowed down. A morning on the water in Charleston is peaceful, calm, and relaxing. For William, time on the boat and in the creeks of the Lowcountry provides not only a day of entertainment and joy, but this time alone nurtures a meaningful connection in his relationship with the Lord.
William remembers going fishing for the first time around 4 or 5 years old with his father and brother off the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. With his first tackle box and Zebco fishing rod in tow, he was excited and hopeful to catch more fish than his older brother. Not many fish were caught on those days but afternoons of swimming and hanging out created some special memories. Reflecting on what he now sees as invaluable time spent with his dad and brother on late afternoon days during the work week, he hopes to create the same experiences with his children in the future.
Years later, he still carries his passion for being on the water with early morning fishing outings on the weekends or during holiday breaks. Though he says there is never a bad time to get on the boat, his favorite season to fish is late summer into fall. “The bugs aren’t as bad, the early mornings are cooler (both real pluses in the Lowcountry), and the boat traffic is less.”
A successful day on the water for William includes a day of inshore fishing, taking advantage of access to great fishing holes and the ease of using a smaller boat. It’s in these moments that even if he doesn’t catch anything worth keeping that day, he’s grateful for the time and joy of being surrounded by God’s creation. “It’s being in nature that I am reminded of God’s goodness. Having the opportunity to just be still on the water gives me the chance to be in his presence.” In recent months, he has found that not only do some days of fishing provide a sense of peace, but they also serve as an outlet to talk to God about fatherhood. As a dad to young children, he uses this as a space to talk to Jesus about his concerns of raising children in today’s climate, finding comfort in the unknowns, and listening for overall guidance to be the best father that he can be.
“Like prayers, sometimes you end the day with a couple of keepers and then there are some days when you must be patient and come back later to try again.”
Like many experiences in life, fishing has taught him patience. He loves fishing with his family and friends as well as going by himself. He values the time of fishing alone and uses those moments to decompartmentalize from daily tasks or worries. Through his spiritual walk, he has learned to just place the things he can’t control in God’s hands and just be present on the water. Though he wishes he could do it more often, he’s thankful for the times he can.
Patience In Prayer
William has attended Seacoast Church since moving to the Charleston area five years ago. As his relationship with Jesus continues to deepen, he sees the comparison between that and his love for fishing and being on the water. Sometimes fishing reminds him of the response time held at the end of each church service, both giving him time to think through things. He typically spends a portion of response time praying about his upcoming week or how the message moved him, just as he does on the water. Both are opportunities to speak to God and to listen to what God is saying, something he’s trying to get better at doing. “Before you go out for a day of fishing, you begin with thinking of what fish you want to catch along with the bait and tackle you want to use. Then, you cast your line and wait. Like prayers, sometimes you end the day with a couple of keepers and then there are some days when you must be patient and come back later to try again.”
William’s advice for anyone who wants to fish in the Lowcountry is to just get out there and learn by being on the water. He finds comfort in knowing that like the consistency of the tides, God will always remain the same and be the constant in life.
William has learned that whether it is fishing or some other activity that you like, recognizing that you can find God in many places is key. There is peace in feeling the Lord’s presence in a worship service and there is joy in finding him when alone. William’s experience while enjoying nature and the peace that comes in the stillness has given him opportunities to continue to deepen his relationship with God. Now, put that sign out and go fishing.