Wednesdays are my writing days…or at least I intend for them to be. I wake up thinking about the story I’m going to tell, wondering if there is one worth telling.
On Wednesday mornings, Mike always asks me what I’m going to write about. He gets excited about the blog, I think, because it helps him remember things that happened to him. Based on my writing history, he has yet to recall the day we met, what my favorite color is, or how I prefer my eggs, but we will get there, I’m sure.
Every Wednesday he asks and every Wednesday I answer: “Ugh. I don’t know!”
He catches me first thing in the morning feeling very bad at the thing I’m supposed to be good at. But the stories somehow come. Sometimes they come easily, spontaneously, and in the nick of time. Frequently, they come as a surprise.
One time I prayed for a story while riding the trolley to work. I remember thinking about how little I had to say, but then I exited the trolley, walked to my office, and wrote a trolley adventure in less than an hour. I have no idea where the story came from, but it came, just the same.
Another night I sat down at my computer to write, but all I could think about was how tired I was. I couldn’t see the story beyond exhaustion, so I wrote about that. I wrote glove box deodorant and somehow it mattered. I caught on to something that day without knowing how.
The last several weeks I’ve written a story on Tuesday, only to wake up on Wednesday and realize that it’s not the right one. It is disheartening to face the morning empty-handed, especially when you’ve labored the night before.
But deep down, there’s a quiet-loud voice that tells me a better story is waiting. It tells me to throw my net out again, to try one more time. Usually I do what it says. Reluctantly.
At lunchtime today, I was walking down the street when I heard a thud on the pavement. I looked above my head to see a group of seagulls flying away.
Something had fallen from the sky.
It was a fish.
A fish. Had fallen. From the sky.
A seagull had dropped it.
Can you imagine if it had hit me?
On the head? In the face?
What if my purse had been open?
What if my mouth had been open?
It was Wednesday, so I thought about the story I’d been waiting for all week.
Perhaps it had just fallen from the sky.
Almost on my face. Almost in my mouth.
The spontaneous fish reminded me of something I’d written down earlier in the week, an idea I almost forgot.
I remembered Jesus calling the disciples for the very first time. He found fishermen first thing in the morning, after a night they didn’t catch any fish. Jesus saw them performing very badly at the thing they were supposed to be very good at.
He knew it was disheartening to face the morning empty-handed, especially when you’ve labored the night before. But even still, Jesus called the underperforming fishermen.
He sent them back out to try again. “Throw out your nets one more time,” he said. So they did. Reluctantly.
And they caught fish without knowing how. .
I love that the first miracle Jesus shows the disciples is a lesson in how he redeems failure. He uses failure to show the specificity of his intervention.
The fish came. Out of nowhere.
And Jesus weaves a story of surprise.
Maybe this means we become disciples by taking to God the things we feel we should already be good at.
It’s so easy to be blind to the big story, to wake up on Wednesday mornings feeling there isn’t one to tell.
But deep down, there’s always a quiet-loud voice that says a better story is waiting.
He says: Don’t give up. Throw your nets out again.
Cover your head. Maybe close you’re mouth.
You never know when intervention will arrive.
We are fishermen learning to fish.
I am writing this down to remember.