Many of you know that for the past two decades I have been obsessed with offshore billfishing. It’s impossible to give justice to a description of the feeling one gets when a 400-pound blue marlin is coming toward your bait. You see the fin, then the bill, then the crash as the Blue attacks the bait, then the fight, then the constant jumping, jumps that clear the air one after another, then the release (we use circle hooks so it’s rare for a fish to be harmed). There’s nothing like it in the world.
But all good things must come to an end eventually. Last week in Guatemala I told my teammates that I was retiring from offshore fishing due to my age. Billfishing takes a lot out of a person, and I had come to my limits. That day I almost fell over twice due to my lack of balance. I’m extremely healthy for a person my age, but most of the people I compete with are half my age. So I’m hanging up my spurs. To punctuate my decision, I’ve already given my prize rods away – rods that you can’t buy anymore.
Why am I telling you this? For two reasons: one, to let all my fishing friends know of my decision; and two, to give a springboard to a discussion of the importance of moving on.
A lot of people have trouble moving on from something, be it good or bad. It might be a divorce, a downturn in the market, the loss of a loved one, or in many of our cases, moving on from a church we love and may have even built.
I can attest that being able to move on is an important piece of life. I’ve seen so many people who can’t let go of the past to the point that it ruins their present life.
There is a secret to moving on. Let me share it with you.
I’ve moved on four times in my life – once from golf, once from a church I spent 24 years at, once from the death of my better half, and once from offshore fishing. I’ve learned that the secret to moving on is to always open a new chapter in your life. I quit golf to take up offshore fishing. I quit the church I spent 24 years at to become a full time consultant to churches and denominations. I quit offshore in order to spend more time with my two wonderful dogs.
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention moving on from the passing of my wife. I’m still working on that one. That wasn’t something I chose, which made moving on much harder. It’s one thing to intentionally choose to move on from something; it’s another to be forced to move on. But even then one must move on or life stops, and this is where most people have their problem moving on.
So how am I moving on from my wife’s death? The best answer is “slowly.” But I have learned something in the process – even though it doesn’t seem like it, there is always something or someone waiting out there if you will only keep your eyes on the future and not get lost in the past. Moving on from the death of a loved one is probably the hardest journey one can have in life. But it’s a journey one must take or life ceases to be life. The secret here is to concentrate on the good times and keep your heart open for new adventures.
So what do you need to move on from? Do it and I promise you’ll live. Don’t do it, and I promise you’ll die inside.
Question: What have you learned from times you’ve had to move on? Share your wisdom and experiences in the Comments section below.
Dear Reverend Easum: I am sorry to read of your decision to give up Bill fishing. Some things, we shouldn’t need to give up, because of age. Have you thought about fresh water bass fishing? Or maybe, a shrimp boat? Whatever your future endeavors, I am confident that Jesus Loves You ! Best Wishes, Robert Hinton
Bill, thanks for your wise and poignant post. Have you seen the book, “Necessary Endings”? It’s been meaningful to me. All the best to you!
I’ve been struggling with that issue a bit myself since retiring from active ministry. Richard Rohr says, “Christ shows us the way to live, it is full of death and resurrection.” Speed is not as important as direction. My progress is slow but it’s still progress. Your loss is much more significant and touches deeper issues. I will pray that your journey to life continues in the same manner that your life has brought so much life the church and those who have benefited from your leadership and passion. Persevere.
Richard. I wish you well in your transition
Hi Bill, I will miss seeing your face at the events but I applaud you in knowing when to move on. Never an easy decision but always a necessary one if we are to continue on the path of life. I wish you all the best and hope we will see you occasionally.