Three years ago I had the opportunity to go fishing with my dad in Alaska during the salmon runs. This trip was a bucket list item for both of us and something that we had planned and talked about for over 10 years.
There were many things we saw and experienced on that trip that I will never forget (20+ brown bears) but one of the images that I’ll never forget was watching the salmon swim upstream after learning about their life cycle. Salmon are born in small streams in the mountains far from the shore and then as small fry they eventually swim or are swept out to the ocean.
They spend years of their lives in the ocean eating and growing in the nutrient rich ocean waters off Alaska. Then, one year after reaching maturity, something tells them to go home. Instinctually, they go back to the same river that was their home and swim upstream all the way back to the stream in which they were born. As they make this journey, they stop eating, their body starts to degrade and become weaker.
In today’s world, they have to avoid nets of boats offshore, fisherman like myself on the shore, and brown bears all looking to end their trip prematurely. They swim in progressively shallower water, jump waterfalls, and swim upstream constantly for weeks. If they survive the threats, they get to lay/fertilize eggs, but this is still a one way trip that will eventually end in their death. The trip the salmon make back to their birthplace has a purpose. They leave the ocean full of food and start a dangerous journey because it’s what they were designed to do.
They are programmed to go back to that exact stream as it’s the safest, best place to lay eggs and fertilize the next generation of salmon. They are making this journey that they are designed and purposed to do, not for themselves but for the next generation.
When I watched the men at the beatdown this morning I was reminded of this image. We too have a time in our lives where we instinctively start to understand that we too have a purpose and maybe it’s time to live for something beyond ourselves. The men this morning made the choice to leave their comfort zone where life is relatively safe and predictable for a life of challenge and suffering. Working out at 5:30 AM on a cold morning in KC is as unnatural as a salt water loving fish, leaving the food and comfort of the ocean to deal with nets, fisherman, and bears while swimming constantly upstream in a river. We choose to swim upstream because we know it will make us stronger and tougher. We also know that we are doing it for a reason outside ourselves. We make that choice to better those around us and for the FNG’s, 2.0, and M’s that are around us. Make no mistake about it, we will be tired, we will be cold, and we will be sore. There are many easier ways to live. The fartsack and all you can eat buffet are always calling our names. Every day we either chose to live in the ocean where its comfortable, quit and allow ourselves to be carried downstream, or keep our mind focused on the destination and keep swimming upstream towards the goal.
Just as salmon are purposed and designed to do incredible illogical things for the next generation, we as men are designed and purposed to live for those around us (including the next generation).
I for one am glad to not be swimming alone. Appreciate you all.
Let’s get after it. SYITG,
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
Leaders Leading Leaders