Have you ever gotten a fishing hook stuck in your finger? Most people haven’t, and most people would try to take care of it the wrong way. See, it’s not like a splinter that you can just pull out...in fact that would make things worse. I’d really not have any idea if it weren’t for seeing My grandfather accidentally stick himself with a hook when I was little...maybe 5 years old.
We were fishing at the mill slide out at Camp. Nothing big lived in there except for some catfish and a monster of a snapping turtle. Pawpaw was baiting my hook because I was a big wimp, and I’m not sure how it happened, but he looked at me and said, “Hey buddy, now you know what to do if you get a hook stuck in your finger don’t you?” As he said it, he held up his left hand and showed me the hook, up to the barb, stuck in his thumb. He didn’t make a sound. I don’t remember him even wincing, but he did show me that, once the barb of the hook is in the skin, you’ve got to push the whole thing through. Otherwise, if you panic and try to pull it out, you’ll rip the flesh, and have a greater chance of infection.
Pawpaw never made a sound. He never tensed his face. He did nothing to show that a hook in his thumb was a big deal. In the end he left me with a warning that I’ll never forget and that I’ve copied so many times. He said, “The longer you fish, the more likely you are to stick yourself with a hook. But we don’t stay home cause we’re afraid of a little hook, right?”
Watching that man get a fishing hook out of his thumb taught me something a lot deeper than basic first aid. The longer we are blessed to be here, the more likely we are to make mistakes. If you train in the dojo, and take it seriously, it’s only a matter of time before you pick up an injury. Mistakes happen. You’ve got to own it, see it through, clean things up, and keep moving.
Mistakes sting. They’re supposed to; that’s the way we learn from them. But if you don’t own them, if you try to find the quick and easy way out, you’re just going to be left in a lot more pain. Besides, living a life where you risk sticking yourself with a fishhook is a lot better than living a life on the couch.