We needed a bigger boat – catching a shark in the Gulf of Mexico

I didn’t expect to catch something so big– wait, this is fishing– I didn’t expect to catch anything! But there we were rocking back and forth 40 miles from the closest safe place. Yes, in my world, land is safe and ocean is scary. It’s where where people get their limbs bit off by sharks and barracudas. Or get stranded on a little rock with predators swimming around waiting for high tide. Hey, The Shallows was a true story, you know. Ok, no it wasn’t. But it’s true they made a movie called The Shallows. Think about it.

ANYWAYSSSSS, we were on the boat ready with baited hooks. Dropping our lines down 90 feet hoping for the grouper you write home about. All of the sudden, a tug on my line! Then just a bent pole and no bobbing up and down like the pole will do when you have a real fighter hooked on the other end.

Long story short, this fella gave me the workout of the year. But with the help of my brother in law and the other guys on the boat, we reeled in a 10-foot shark! Take a look at the moment captured on video.

To be truthful, the boat was plenty big but we had no way of getting the shark into said boat nor would we have wanted to, anyway. As you can see, when my dad cut the line the shark slowly drifted back down to the depths of the sea to terrorize us on a future day. Swim down and enjoy your life you beautiful creature.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Out of the Wilderness

…and then there was the bombing

The other day I was talking with a guy here in Nashville about which part of town we live. He lives in east Nashville and works with a friend of mine in downtown Nashville. The place they work was affected by the Nashville bomb which was a crazy situation on Christmas day 2020.

While he and I were chatting about downtown businesses being closed from the pandemic, I said, “…and then there was the bombing.”

Later that day it amazed me how casually that line came out. It’s not that it was a minor event– a guy literally blew himself up in a RV camper and 2nd Ave was closed for months as they assessed the damage. Some businesses were severely affected and haven’t opened back up yet. Lots of damage. It was a big deal so the fact that I even said anything about a bomb in Nashville and it didn’t feel weird, felt weird.

We are living in crazy times here in the U.S. and maybe it’s just a taste of what other countries have faced on a more regular basis, but still it’s pretty interesting from the politics, to supposed racism (I say supposed because I really only hear about it on the news, not in real life as I’m interacting with real people), and all the other stuff going on here.

I wish talking about a bomb that happened in my city would be met with shock and disbelief (and it mostly was when it first happened) but lately it just seems to be part of the clown world we are living in now.

-Out of the Wilderness

John 18:28 really annoys me

“Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover.”

I think it would be easy to just take this verse and be annoyed or angry at the soldiers and temple police for putting Jesus through this charade. That, in itself, is worthy of anger as a reader. What really stood out to me, though, the last time I read this is about them not entering the headquarters because it would make them unclean.

Talk about following rules to their own detriment! Here they have the Son of God who takes away the sin of the world, the One who calls things into existence that do not exist, He gives life to the dead… and their focus is on following rules.

Here is where I unleash harsh judgement on them, right? Well, no. I can’t. Because their “rule following” isn’t really what annoys me. It’s MY rule following that annoys me. If the Bible is a mirror, then when I read this verse I’m looking at a great reflection of myself.

Sometimes, maybe a lot of the time, I find myself focusing on rules. I should do this or that because that’s what a good person does. Not only that, though, I also deal out judgement on people that don’t do as I do. It’s disheartening to be able to so closely identify with those who miss the forest for the trees.

With that said, I’m thankful John 13:38 – 14:1. Jesus is talking to Peter…

“Jesus replied, ‘Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: A rooster will not crow until you have denied Me three times. Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.'”

The first two sentences are part of chapter 13, the last two are 14 but I see no separation in what Jesus is offering. Yes, you will deny me. Yes you will pretend you don’t know me. But when you realize your own faults and failures, don’t beat yourself up. After all, I am not beating you up and I’m the one you hurt.

I love that about Jesus. His anger is always directed at the right things– people and ideas that are intentionally against God. But the Bible still shows Jesus having compassion, even to those that don’t like him, up to his very last breath. His love is always overflowing towards the right things, too– people who love God and want to do the right things but still make mistakes.

Awesome stuff! Have a super week.

-Out of the Wilderness

A lesson from the bench

Hi there! You might think the title of this post is something related to a judge’s bench. Or a work bench. Wouldn’t that be so clever? Well, no. I’m not a judge and I don’t make things out of wood. This goes all the way back to middle school basketball.

Yep, I was one of the guys who only played when we were winning by a million points. Well, there was one time coach put me in because my girlfriend attended the game. I asked him that week if I could play in the first half and surprisingly, he did. But besides that I was mostly riding the bench.

It wasn’t all bad, though. From the sidelines there were two things I learned about myself, one of which I wish I had learned a lot earlier. The first is that after a loss, I never really felt bad because it couldn’t have been my fault. Remember how I never played?

Second, and this… I don’t think it’s fully registered yet but I have a memory I’ll never forget. In a team talk during a half time or maybe after I game, I don’t remember the scenario but it was definitely either half time or after the game, one of our starters was addressing the team morale and said this…

“The only one I hear encouraging us is Ben.”

That was many years ago but it’s stuck with me. As a middle schooler, being better suited as a team manager or something behind the scenes didn’t register. All I knew is that I liked playing basketball so I just had to be on the team.

As an adult, I’ve learned that I thrive behind the scenes, and in a support role. This is my personality. Do I still love playing sports? You better believe it. Can I still take my older brother to the rim? Obviously*. Did my girlfriend love watching me play in the first half?

All that to say, I like discovering that traits I like about myself have actually been part of my personality for a long time, even if I didn’t notice them as a kid growing up. Am I the best encourager? No. There is always room for improvement, and I can also be harsh with my words, which is, I guess, the other end of that same pendulum. But little Ben in middle school might have been on to something and now adult Ben is going to be more intentional about that personality trait thriving a bit more.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Out of the Wilderness

*My older brother won’t read this, so I can get away with telling you all that I’m better at basketball. Truth is, he’s better at every sport we’ve ever played. I tell him that, but for now just let me have this one, mmmmmk? 🙂

Do opposites really attract? Not like this, they don’t!

Have any of you listened to Paula Abdul’s song “Opposites Attract” lately? I hear it every once in a while on SiriusXM’s 90s channel and, while the song IS old, it’s remarkable to me that in 2021 I just realized how unfit these two are for each other. I’ll explain why, but first, check out the song…

OK, where do we even start? Well, I’ve put together a little infographic to show all the ways this fascinating couple is wrong for each other, as listed in the song lyrics.

So let’s look at this objectively. Their friends say they won’t last. They won’t ever compromise on their differences. They admit to not even having a single thing in common. My question now is… why? Why would she even WANT to be with this guy? Why would he want to be with her? Oh wait, she has money. He’s a sugar baby.

Ladies out there, can you justify why this woman sticks around? The dude has no redeemable qualities. Can you imagine being with a partner like him?

The song topped the Billboard charts in many countries, including the United States. The video featuring an animated cat won a Grammy in 1991. All of this astounds me, as the couple actually fit better in any of the following three songs.

  1. How they can love each other is beyond me, so here is a fitting song for the real life.

2. The woman in Paula Abdul’s song should be asking herself this question from the following song: “What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.”

3. She should also confirm in no uncertain terms… they are never, ever, ever getting back together.

Anywho, thanks for stopping by!

-Out of the Wilderness