Monday Memo: Weighing Fish

Terry Walton


Weighing a Fish

I Was Thinking…

How much does a two-pound bass weigh? It depends. My maternal grandfather had a ten-acre pond which we fished regularly. We fished it with earthworms gathered from under the leaf pile behind the garage. We fished it with cane poles. If you have ever had the privilege of fishing with a cane pole, then you know. On a cane pole, a two-pound fish feels like a much larger fish…maybe this is where the idea of ‘fish tales’ originated. 

The day I caught a two-pound bass while fishing with ‘Pappy’ was a great day.  As I told the story to my mom and grandmother before the fish was actually weighed, I just knew it was at least a five, six, or maybe even a ten-pound bass. The weighing of the fish was full of great anticipation only to discover that this ‘monster’ of a fish weighed two pounds. The bend and length of the cane pole created an incorrect perception of the weight of my fish.

How much does a two-pound bass weigh? It depends. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with Sharon and another couple, we ran into a school of Bonita fish. Our Captain for hire that day had equipped us with a huge fishing tackle. Our rods and reels were bigger than freshwater equipment. Catching Bonita is fun. They are strong and tough, but our equipment handled their resistance to being brought aboard our boat. I recall catching a smaller Bonita and was certain that particular fish couldn’t weigh more than a couple of pounds. However, Captain Mike assured me that it weighed more than I had imagined. Upon weighing it, that one fish weighed five pounds. The stronger rod and reels created an incorrect perception of the weight of my fish.

How much does a two-pound bass weigh? It depends. Have you ever worried yourself sick over something only to discover that your perception of what had happened, is happening, or may happen was an incorrect perception? I have certainly done so. Life seems to be full of many opportunities to ‘blow things out of proportion.' I can be a great constructer of making 'mountains out of molehills’…how about you?

It was Jesus who said “…stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:34a CEB). It was my professor and friend, Dr. Kennon Callahan, who taught us that “perception leads to behavior and that leads to destiny.”

How much does a two-pound bass weigh? It weighs two pounds, no more or no less. Our perceptions can be misleading and therefore misguide us to places God never intends for us to travel. Our way of regarding, understanding, or interpreting something influences us greatly. It determines our living and our believing. I used to see God as a grumpy old man with a long white beard with lightning bolts in his quiver, ready to be thrown in my direction for any sin committed. I have since grown to understand God as full of joy with a loving embrace. His quiver? It is not full of lightning bolts but full of forgiveness and mercy freely offered to all. My perception of God is what shapes me and motivates me in all relationships in this world.

How much does a two-pound bass weigh? It weighs two pounds. Lord, “open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me; and while the wave-notes fall on my ear, everything false will disappear. Silently now I wait for thee, ready my God, thy will to see, open my heart, illumine me, Spirit divine!” (Clara H. Scott, 1895) This is my prayer…maybe it is yours too!

Always Thinking…

The Rev. Dr. Terry E. Walton
Executive Assistant to the Bishop 

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