“Umm, Umm, Umm,” my friend Beverly said, licking her lips. “Today is my lucky day. I do believe I’m gonna catch me a man – hook, line and sinker.”
I shook my head and laughed. “Oh, really? And just how do you intend to accomplish this great feat? You can’t even bait your own fish hook.”
The charter boat bobbed like a cork in the water. A wave broke just right, sending a spray of salty mist upward to dampen the heat of the August day.
“Watch and learn.” A playful smile spread across her full red lips. With eyes full of mischief, she scanned the sea of men from the singles group, then winked at me before heading off, a borrowed fishing rod in hand.
“Hey, watch it. You almost hooked me.” I ducked down, just missing the barb on the end of her line.
“Oh, sorry, Jen.” With hardly a glance backward, she tugged at her short skirt and moved into deep waters, intent on her catch.
Her watered down apology had left me fuming.
“Bring a friend along,” Doug, the guy who leads the singles group, had said. “You can build relationships and have fun, too.”
Why did I bother? She was more interested in flirting than in spending time with her best friend.
My mouth tasted salty, but not from the ocean spray; it was from tears of frustration that coursed down my cheeks. I wiped at the wetness and breathed my lament. “Lord, you know I love Bev, but look at her; she’s more interested in men than in knowing about you. I just know she’s a lost cause. Besides, what will my church friends think of me for hanging out with someone who’s such a…such a…floozy.”
My jaw ached from gritting my teeth. I watched as she put on her “I’m so helpless, but you’re so strong” demeanor, luring in the three men surrounding her. Reduced to chum, they were biting.
Each one took turns giving her lessons in the fine art of fishing. How pathetic. Didn’t these guys see that she was already proficient in baiting her hook?
Oooo, she made me so mad! Why couldn’t I have half of her charm or a smidgen of her glamour.
“Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”* Like being snagged by a grappling hook, I felt the inner tug of the Spirit. The realization hit hard. It wasn’t fury that had caused my angst; it was envy. From the rising heat, I knew the guilty pangs had colored my sunburned face a deeper shade of scarlet.
Drying my eyes, I turned my back on the foursome, leaned on the rail and stared into the brine. Its murky depths mirrored my own soul. “Forgive me, Lord. I know you made me who I am, but it’s just that I always feel like a fish fighting for air when she’s around. I really want to share your love with her but how can I? I don’t feel very loving right now.” I puffed out my cheeks and exhaled my grief. “Guess I’ve blown it again, huh, Lord?”
Taking a peek over my shoulder, I expected to see my attractive friend reeling in her prize. Instead, she looked as though she was having a serious talk. A rare occurrence, for sure. When she spotted me, she broke off her conversation and swayed, on sea legs, toward me.
Her half-smile faded as she drew closer. My friend had never looked more pitiful.
“What happened – couldn’t land the big one?”
“Guess not.” Her scowl betrayed her tiny laugh. “They tried to teach me about fishing…like that’s what I really wanted. Pleease.” She rolled her eyes. “I didn’t even get a nibble; can you believe it? Me!”
“Well, you know guys; when it’s sports or women, the fish win every time.”
“That’s just it; they didn’t fish. They talked about you.”
“Me?” My mouth must have hung open because Bev told me to shut it.
“Yeah, you. Unbelievable. No offense, Jen; you know what I mean. Besides, it wasn’t about your looks; it was about your quiet spirit. I hate to admit it, but I was jealous. You have…I don’t know…a beauty about you. What is it that makes you so different?”
I breathed a prayer of thanks, grateful to get a second chance. “You know, you’re not the only person who is a fisher of men...”
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