The Blessing of Others


The Blessing of Others

It can be easy to forget about all the blessings in our lives, especially in times of trouble.  We tend to fixate on the problems of here and now, worry about the future, and let the blessings slip away into the past.  It’s kind of like talking about the weather.  We comment on today, nice or not, and we have an eye on the forecast, but the only weather we look back on are the big storms, and excessive heat or cold.  Now, any now, is an especially good time to reflect on the blessings that others have been to us along our way. 

For me, one person that comes quickly to mind is Mr. Smits.  He was my Webelo den leader in boy scouts more than 50 years ago, but the positive impact he had on me is fresh in my mind and heart.  I am a quiet person who is always cautious around people I do not know well, but I can’t remember ever being uncomfortable around Mr. Smits.  He was a great scout leader.  We did some traditional scout activities like winter and summer camping and learning how to tie knots.  But I also remember some non-traditional things like the evening he brought out his antique harmonica and played it for us while we sang along.  I remember his warm smile and patience.  But if I have to recall one particular thing he did for me, it is definitely the day he took us ice fishing. 

My Dad took me fishing in the summer, but I never even heard of people fishing in the winter.  Needless to say, I didn’t have any ice fishing gear, but in my family you made do with what you had, so when Mr. Smits pulled in the driveway I went out with my summer fishing pole in hand.  I took some razing from the other kids who obviously understood that ice fishing gear was different but Mr. Smits said that my pole would work just fine.

Once we arrived at Clark Lake, Mr. Smits showed us how to chisel a hole (a lot more work than the power auger I use now) and helped us all get set up.  Most of the other boys got bored quickly and started throwing around a football – some went ice skating.  Not me.  I have always been a determined fisherman.  I stayed and watched my bobber.  It didn’t budge.  Neither did I.

Mr. Smits showed me how to keep the ice from freezing my hole back in.  He didn’t need to scoop ice out of his hole because it seemed that about every minute or so he was puling a nice big perch out of it.  Over the course of the day he accumulated a pile of perch while I watched my unmoving bobber. 

About midafternoon the other boys had had enough and began storing their stuff away and packing for the drive home.  Mr. Smits announced to everyone who was ready to leave that he was impressed with my determination and we weren’t going home until I caught a fish.  He then asked if I wanted to use his pole, and if I wanted to fish in his hole?  Boy did I!  It didn’t take long until I saw the bobber nudge just a bit and I pulled.  A perch, probably the smallest one of the day, flopped onto the ice.  Mr. Smits laughed and patted me on the back with his big mittened hand. 

It was dark when we pulled into my driveway.  Mr. Smits found my fishing pole and other gear and handed it to me.  Then he rummaged around in his bucket of perch and pulled out probably the biggest one that he had caught and handed it to me.  “That looks about the size of the one you caught!”  he said and handed it to me with a big smile on his face. 

I remember going into the back door and showing my dad the fish “I brought home”.  I never claimed it as the one I caught, but I didn’t not claim it either.  Until the writing of this post only Mr. Smits and I knew the truth.

Mr. Smits saw something in me that day.  I knew in my heart that he saw something in me that day.  When someone else sees something in you, it makes you feel better about yourself, even in the face of knowing your own shortfalls. 

Now, any now, is a good time to see something in someone else.  It is a good time for a smile and a pat someone on the back, even if that pat has to be virtual.  Pray a blessing on those who have blessed you.  You never know the positive impact it may have.

His Peace <><

Deacon Dan