Sunday, October 10, 2010

This is not a FISHY story!

I want to share a story about one of my encounters while visiting in Texas. Many of you may know that I recently traveled to San Antonio and Corpus Christi to give a couple of talks and book signings.

After I finished my work at a huge conference for women in San Antonio put on by the Pilgrim Center for Hope, a friend drove me to Corpus Christi where I would stay for a few days and meet with many of the women I spoke to at a retreat a little over a year ago. Excited that I'd be back to Corpus Christi, the women of St. Helena's went ahead and arranged some book signings, informal talks and various get-togethers.

It had been a very busy working summer back home in Connecticut (no time for a break), and I was really looking forward to putting my feet in the ocean at the National Seashore where I had visited on my last trip to Corpus Christi. So, my friend and I made a quick "pit stop" to the beach. We took off our sandals and walked to the water and stood there taking in the gorgeous views of God's Creation, while experiencing the wonderful sensation of warm ocean water flowing across our feet.

We would only be there for about ten minutes before Katherine would drive me a bit further up the road to my destination. But, standing there just about took my breath away. The ocean always brings a special peace to my heart. I was thankful for those moments and hoped to fit in a couple of hours more of that beauty and blessing in the coming days in between my upcoming events in Corpus Christi.

See the pelicans flying over the ocean?

We saw that there was a fisherman wading in the water, busy with his poles. I said "hello" to him and we began a little conversation. The fisherman asked where we were from and we explained that Katherine was from San Antonio and I was from Connecticut.

Then the question was asked, "What brings you to Corpus?"

So, I explained that I was a Catholic author and had given a talk and book signing in San Antonio and would now visit some friends in Corpus and do a couple of more book signings before heading back home.

We talked a little about my books and Mickey, the fisherman told me he knew his wife would be interested in reading my Mother Teresa book. I told him I'd get a business card from my purse and give it to him just in case he and his wife would like to look me up on the Internet to learn more about my books.

I asked him about his fishing. He said he loved to be there in the ocean and "think about nothing."

I knew what he meant, but I suggested it was also a very good time to "pray." We then chatted about the fish he had caught and he expressed that he really wanted "to catch a big one - like about a 24 inch fish."

An inspiration suddenly came to me and I said, "I'll tell you what, I am going to pray that you catch a BIG fish. If you do, I want you to do me a favor and thank God for the fish."

He said, "You know, I'm not picky. It doesn't have to be today. It can be in the next few days."

I was secretly thinking that, perhaps if he caught the big fish, he'd think about praying and thanking God. So, I reminded him about the idea a couple of more times and then I asked if I could take his picture. He agreed, and, better yet, he said, "Let me hold up my fish."

So, I braved the millions of anchovies that were swimming all around my feet in the shallow water darting madly into my ankles, and went in a little further where they were even thicker to snap a shot.

We said our "good byes." I thought about that fisherman on and off for a few days, praying that he caught a BIG fish, if it was God's will.

Showing me his fish the day we met

I had a very nice time in Corpus Christi visiting and giving talks and book signings. I went home to Connecticut on Thursday.

After Mass this morning, I received an email from the fisherman! The subject line said, "Your prayer for big fish for me." My heart soared. "Wow, that fisherman wrote to me, what a blessing!" I thought, and then quickly clicked on the email to see the message.

He wrote, "Last Sun. Met at beach in Corpus Christi. You took a pic of me with string of fish. U said U would pray for me to catch big fish. If u did, it worked. 30 inch red drum on Wed. Thank you."

Imagine that? God is so good! The fish was even bigger than he hoped for. I was so happy I had given him my business card so that I could find out about his BIG fish!

We wrote back and forth in a few more emails. He told me that he left Corpus Christi on Thursday (the day after he caught the BIG fish and the same day I left) because he was scheduled to attend an event and then head home to another area of Texas. He said he was happy that we met.

This fisherman will hold a special place in my heart. I sense that God touched Mickey in a special way out there in the ocean. Only God knows, but I pray that this fisherman will think of God and prayers every time he goes fishing, and maybe even more often than that!

Here's my fisherman friend holding up his thirty inch fish! Prayers were answered!

I know that our dear Lord wants us to spread His love everywhere - at the grocery store, the Post Office, on a plane, in the ocean - EVERYWHERE!

Remember, He calls us to be FISHERS of men!

[By the way, I have permission from Mickey, the fisherman to post the photos, etc.]

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