I spent this past weekend at the family camp. It was a damp, overcast weekend, far from ideal weather for August in Maine, but it was lovely. The camp is full of knotty yellow pine and the nostalgia that comes with any place that has changed little in 45 years. There were copious blueberries dotting the high bushes, ripe for picking. I was with my sister and her children, and as tends to happen when kids are in tow, something got broken. In this case, it was the casting reel of my nephew's new fishing rod.
Alongside conversation about the changing quality of things (my grandfather's 100-year-old fishing rods still hang on the wall, having passed all tests of time) and the pitfalls of made-in-China, my sister diligently attempted to fix the jammed reel. This required patiently dismantling its outer case to reveal the mechanisms inside while simultaneously supporting her frustrated son, who wanted to get back to breaking sunfish catch-and-release records.
Ultimately, it became about trying to capture the lost end of the fishing line. Lots of careful twisting and turning and inserting a bobby pin to the occasional cry of "There it is!" and "I think I have it" until the slippery strand would slither out of reach again. My sister kept trying. I was ready to give up. She has our mother's sticktoitiveness while I have my father's short supply of frustration tolerance.
But do you know that feeling I describe? That "Almost Got It" feeling, when you reach to grasp something you've been trying to hold, but it slips away? It's a rush of exhilaration followed by the deflation of defeat. You almost had it, but it got away again, like a fish slipping off the hook and disappearing into the depths.
It reminded me of how Ryan and I have felt this summer with regard to our fasting magic. We've had two years of truly amazing fasting experiences - not just with what fasting has done for our weight, but how it created a framework to manage attitude, outlook, and growth-oriented behavior. We joke about how it would look for us to turn back now. After all, we not only boasted about the superiority of our weight-loss method, but we wrote a book! A book that's now being purchased in South Korea, evidenced by an uptick in follows by Korean Instagram accounts! We put it OUT THERE, MAN. There is no turning back.
So why do we have that "Almost Got It" feeling, like something is slipping out of our grip? When days of too much pasta or ice cream string themselves into a week-long carb binge, when our moods are crabby or downright negative, does this mean we didn't "get it", that Unbelievable Freedom was an illusion that has vanished like a mirage in the desert?
No. No, because health and happiness aren't tangible things you can grab and hold like a piece of nylon. You can't catch them just right and anchor them as you can with fishing line. They are byproducts of a process. They are individual journeys with no destination except the very end, and none of us know when that is coming.
Happiness isn't something you can't grab and squeeze tightly so it doesn't escape. You have to learn and apply life's lessons as you gain them, and for me, the greatest lesson has been what fasting can bring when I do it with the right energy. Some days will be challenging and some will be wonderful. And I'll enjoy them more when I'm flowing, not forcing.....gracious, not grasping. I think I've got it. At least...almost :)