by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Fishing may be one of those universal sports and hobbies. In fact, fishing resonates with so many people that fishing metaphors abound in all aspects of our lives.

You may say that you are trying to land a job — and you’re casting your line into the big job market. Or your best friend assures you there are plenty of other fish in the sea when your marriage ends. You may tell a brother to drop you a line. Or you say you hit a snag in trying to get approved for a credit card. You exclaim you got a bite when a business responds to your resume and application. Or that you’re trying to lure and reel in possible buyers for the car you have for sale. And perhaps your mom says your new boyfriend is a good catch.

I guess we’re people who like to talk fish!

What is it about fishing that is so very appealing to so many?

My husband and I recently returned from a trout fishing trip in Colorado. And I must say that few things are more relaxing than sitting beneath an evergreen tree on the bank of a crystal clear mountain lake. The stress of everyday life dissipates to the inconsequential detail it really is. Indeed, there’s something about fishing from a quiet shore and breathing serene, fresh air that clears the mind and soothes the soul.

I’m intrigued by the intensity of focus that trout fishing required of me. It captured my entire attention as I baited my hook and cast my line into the lake. I was spellbound as I gazed into the sunny water waiting for my bopper to move and anticipating the bump of a fish taking my bait.

This was no idle time as my daughter thinks — she’s never been mountain lake fishing. There was purpose, vision, determination and expectation. At the day’s end after our catch limit was reached and fish were cleaned and cooked, I was ready to rest up for the next day to do it all again.

Before leaving home for our fishing excursion, I had some trepidation about being in a remote area with little to no phone service, nor Internet service. I worried that I would feel disconnected from all that I love. But once I began fishing, I thought of little else.

This mental state of mind is a far cry from my day-to-day experience when home. My normal day involves lots of multi-tasking and many times where I feel like my attention is scattered or over-extended. It’s not easy for anything to get my complete focus. And this is sometimes frustrating when I really want to give my total attention to a task at hand.

So now that I’m back home, I’m wondering what it was about fishing that was so all-consuming. And I’m wondering how I can give that kind of focus to other endeavors and interests at home.

While it is true that on my mountaintop, there were no interruptions — so there were no other choices than my single task of catching fish. At home there are many decisions and choices to be made. And they do sometimes seem to be in competition with each other for my attention.

But the truth is that regardless of the number of items on our to-do list each day, we can only give one thing — or person — our full attention in any given moment.

What a revelation this is for me!

I can only imagine how the quality of my projects or time shared with loved ones can improve by understanding that each requires and deserves my full attention in each moment. And it is possible to give my full attention as I take one moment at a time and give my all to that moment.

I also can’t help but think about Peter’s pronouncement, “I go a-fishing,” during those days following Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. (John 21:3) I’m sure there was a lot to absorb mentally as Peter tried to understand spiritually the significance of what he had just witnessed. Maybe he needed to get away for a little while.

There is something about fishing that allows us to take a timeout from thinking about our troubles and big decisions — even when we don’t get a bite. Inevitably, a fresh perspective comes into view when I return home after such a break.

So, my friends, focus on one moment of your life at a time — give your whole attention to it. And when you feel the need for a break, go fishing and see what new point of view you have when you return.