Wednesday, October 17, 2012

OnFire #288 Things that Go Boom

OnFire Encouragement Letter

OnFire #288 Things that Go Boom

A few weeks ago, our son Ian and I went duck hunting with a man from our church. Duck hunting is pretty exciting as it combines accuracy with speed and a little cunning. To lure the ducks into our area, we set out about a half dozen plastic duck decoys. As I understand it, ducks like company and it takes a crowd to make a crowd. They are more likely to land where others are already feeding, so we hoped the decoys would entice some birds to land in front of our blind.

A word about blinds. They hide hunters. Like most wild animals, ducks are always on the lookout for danger, and nothing says trouble like a few guys sitting behind a tree with guns. So, it is important that the blind break up the outline and pattern of the people sitting in it. Burlap, camouflage, and branches are popular and work well. From our cozy spot on a point of land beside a river we had already claimed two birds that morning, and hoped to get a few more before the wind picked up.

We had just settled into the blind after retrieving our ducks when we saw a boat approach from downriver. It was a bass boat, fast, with two men aboard, and it appeared to us that they were looking for something. We guessed they were duck hunting, like we were, and perhaps hoped to “jump” or surprise some ducks which might flush from the marsh. As they neared our point of land, the boat slowed and drifted to a stop in front of our decoys.

Did I say that decoys look like real ducks? If they didn’t realize these were fakes, we were now in the line of fire if they were hunters.

All at once, we stood up in the blind to show ourselves, but they didn’t see us. One man reached to pull something from a locker on deck while the other dropped the trolling moter at the front of the boat. And then both picked up fishing rods and cast into the river.

We were more than a little relieved to know that they weren’t going to shoot in our direction, but now we had another situation. As long as these guys were fishing from their boat, nothing was going to fly in our direction, and, in fact, we couldn’t shoot if they did because they were now in our line of fire.

We looked at each other and wondered what to do. How do we get their attention? Wait for them to notice? Yell? Fire a shot into the air? We could hardly believe the situation in front of us. I was already thinking of the story we could tell later, and pulled out the camera. You can see the picture on my website at

All of this unfolded in less than sixty seconds. Looking for a new place to cast, one of the men spotted us standing in the blind and called out. “Sorry boys.... Good hiding spot.” At this they pulled up the trolling motor and left.

We did the right thing by waiting. We would have called out if they hadn’t noticed us in a few more moments. It was tempting to fire a shot into the air, but anytime a firearm is discharged it is potentially dangerous, and that sort of thing tends to tick people off. While it was an option, it was not a wise one.

This situation left me thinking about a lot of the tricky situations I have been in. Patience and tact are not always what I think to do first. Sometimes I’d like to go off with a big boom. Let people know how upset I am, how serious I think the situation is. Especially if the situation has a history. The more history there is, the harder it is to be patient. But going off with a big boom rarely accomplishes anything good. We make a lot of noise, some get scared, and some get ticked off or come back with something even bigger.

Proverbs 14:29 says, “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”*

I hope this helps. Be on fire.

OnFire is a biweekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. This letter published Oct 17, 2012. Scripture taken from New International Version, 1984. To subscribe or reply, email . Archives are located at . Blog located at .

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