Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The Fish Hook
Not long ago I was fly fishing with my son and a close friend. My fly was floating along the river until it suddenly got caught on something. My natural reaction was to jerk the fly loose. The line had a bit of weight on it, so this little jerk caused the fly to burst out of the water and come jetting straight for my face. My reactions must not be what they used to be, because I soon realized I had a large fly embedded in my bottom lip. A gentle tug on the hook confirmed my fear. The barb was deep into the flesh; this was not going to be a pleasant experience.
My friend and I spent the next several minutes trying to gently extract the fly. We tried pulling, backing it out, tugging with tweezers...no luck...and painful. As my son watched this exercise, he piped in with this helpful thought. "Well Dad, at least now you know how the fish feel."
After several failed attempts, we realized the best approach was to push the hook all the way through my lip, cut off the barb, and then pull it out. With some pushing, a bit of pain, and maybe even a few tears, the hook popped through my lip. We were able to remove the barb and pull the hook out.
I have to be honest, having a fish hook stuck in my lip was not the most pleasant experience of my life.
Do you know how to say "addicted" in sign language? You make a fish hook sympol into your lip and turn your head as if hooked.
I cannot think of a more apt description of addiction than being hooked and not being able to get yourself free. As I think about my experience with the hook in my lip, and the effort it took to get free, three thoughts come to mind.
1) Do everything you possibly can to avoid getting hooked in the first place. Once the hook is in, there is no simple or unpainful way to get it out.
2) If you do have the hook of addiction in your lip, you cannot simply back it up and think it will pop out easily. The best way to deal with it, is face it directly, work through the repentance process, and clip off the addiction.
3) A friend's help in handling addiction is an amazing blessing.
As painful as the hook in my lip was, it was nothing compared to the pain and agony of addiction in my life. Whatever you do, don't get stuck with that hook. And if it's in there, get it out though the love and mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ.