Catch & Release


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Recently, gazing at a hole augered through 18 inches of Minnesota ice, waiting for some wayward huge fish to take the bait, I reflected on recent world and local events. Jets crashing, “Deflategate,” ISIS, $2 per gallon gas, Putin losing his swagger and Pope Francis surprising and inspiring millions; so many issues, so little fish.

The French are saying “je suis Charlie,” Muslims in several countries feel their faith has been disrespected and people are wondering if the next soft target attacked by extremists is in their backyard. Fair to say it’s a little unsettling. If the French are “Charlie,” who are you, who am I, who is your neighbor? What do each one of us stand for amidst all this turmoil, do we even care?

I think the Pope has a good idea who he is. Obviously a humble man of great power, he is comfortable being a man of God, walking amidst the common people, it is quite refreshing. Me? I am changing as life experiences stack up and the years just keep clicking by. Frequently on the outside looking in during my youth, I hitchhiked extensively, just to get away; I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted or what I stood for; I was basically a Canadian baby boomer just going with the flow, for years.

With age comes wisdom, nothing original there. So now I am trying hard to be a good husband, understanding father and trusted friend to others.  I like helping people, so working as a nurse rings true to what I am about; it took 40 years, but I think I’ve finally got it. It makes sense that I stand behind my wife Patty as she defied all odds, establishing a new career after serving two years behind the wire. She would not be vanquished by the system, her faith kept her absolutely resolute. It’s quite amazing really. By way of perspective, when Patty was released from prison and was on supervised release, she looked diligently for any job and was turned down 68 consecutive times; how would that make you feel? That’s heavy rejection when you’re trying really hard to re-enter society. There’s a reason I am proud of her.

Making a difference in somebody’s life means more to me than wealth, wardrobe or clout. How about you? Should you have the chance to give somebody a job that is a real second chance, please give it serious consideration; that person could be another Patty; they will be grateful and loyal beyond measure.

Bottom line: it feels good helping others to better themselves, especially against steep odds; by helping you’re paying it forward.  Everybody deserves a second chance, a shot at redemption and forgiveness. I hope you quietly reach out to somebody who is in some kind of prison, be it an addiction, abuse or behind the wire; it’s the right things to do. Every fish I catch goes back in the lake, a second chance every time.

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