The poor fisherman

From my latest essay at the Image Good Letters site:

I am a tense and irritable man with occasional bouts of cheerfulness tempered by fatalism. I am a hard man with whom to live. I spent yesterday griping at my kids not to drown in the river, not to pick up snakes, not to fall into the fire pit. I pray and pray this morning.

Help me not to be a boulder hung from the necks of my children.

Let them not be lost. Come to them where they are.

Make them better than me.

My seven year-old strolls down the riverbank in his brother’s overlarge Crocs. He is clutching his little blue and red fishing pole. He steps gingerly into the river up to his knees. He wobbles. He faces downriver like me and flicks his lure into a swirl of water.

Not like me, I want to tell him, but what other way can he know? How does the son of a poor fisherman learn to catch fish? We two of us stand in shoes too big to fill and we catch nothing.

There’s more, including a 1970’s evangelical meme, a hospital bed, shouted Bible verses, and seven hot dog meals in a row. You can read the rest here.