GAFF ~ Thoughts of a Fisherman Gift of Ivy

GAFF: And The Gift of Ivy

Thoughts of an Old Fisherman
by Lorena R. Peter, Ph.D.*


[as it appeared in the December 2011 Newsletter]

A woman’s voice came across the sand from the walkway. “I’m going to scream! That woman is driving me to distraction.”

Gaff watched gulls diving into the waves until Priscilla plopped down on the cooler next to him. Emotional energy overflowed her every cell and her every movement and radiated across the beach. He smiled. “And what woman would that be?”

“That woman from Georgia, Ivy. Isn’t there some beach closer to her home that she could visit? Why does she have to pollute ours with all her yelling? The tone of her voice could singe the feathers off those gulls.”

Gaff looked from his visitor to the gulls. The very thought of Ivy setting their feathers aflame made him chuckle. “I have to admit she has a mouth on her. How’d she get you going this morning?”

“I was walking on my way here when I passed her rental. She and her neighbor are in the yard fighting about the fact that his drying laundry is blocking her view. You can hear them for miles.”

Gaff checked the tips of his rods to see that he was getting a nibble. “Again.” Not a question, but a statement. “They’re not likely to ever come to an understanding. Probably for the best.”

Priscilla’s head jerked toward her friend. “What? You think it’s good that they fight all the time. Noise pollution, I’d call it.”

Gaff nodded at the gulls calling all around them. “Are the gulls creating noise pollution?”

Priscilla face dropped, but she blurted out, “Of course not. That’s part of nature. They’re supposed to be here.”

Gaff nodded thoughtfully. “Since you mention the Course, what would it say about all this?”

Her laugh broke the tension. “And now you’re going to make me see a lesson from the Course in this?”

Gaff patted her arm. “I was just wondering how all that fits together.”

“OK, what I see has only the meaning that I give it. So if I see it as bad, it is only  because I define it as bad.”

He nodded. “OK?”

Her eyes became unfocused as she considered. “I react to things out there that remind me of things in me that I need to heal.”

“Didn’t you tell me it was the emotion about the situation that was the real key?”

Priscilla nodded. “Discernment and not judgement.”

“And you’re really angry about the way this woman expresses her anger.”

Another nod. “She’s constantly yelling. Ruins the peace.”

“And you feel a sense of righteous indignation, too.”

Another nod.

“So one thing that may be going on is that she reminds you of your own anger and maybe the way you used to express it or something about it that you don’t like in your self. Another is that she’s not behaving the way you think she should according to the path you have chosen… according to the Way of Love.”


Priscilla threw a handful of sand, a physical expression of her anger. “She isn’t.” Then she shielded her face from sand blown back at her by a sudden gust of wind.Gaff looked to the tips of his rods and thought he saw a hint that a fish had taken his bait. “That sand just came back on you and so will your anger. Are you acting in accordance with the Way of Love?”The corners of her mouth drooped in recognition of his truth. Her voice was low and slow. “I should look for the blessing in this, the lesson. Everything is as it is meant to be and to change it would be to interfere with the perfect way things have been arranged.”It was Gaff’s turn to nod. The wiggling of his rod motivated him to push out of his chair to tend to his fishing, to pull in the fellow on his hook. “Are those just words you memorized or are they a guiding light in your own life, for your own behavior? To use the Course as a reason to attack another person—is that what was intended by those teachings?”

She followed Gaff to the rods, a morose expression on her face. “So Ivy is here doing just what she is meant to do to remind me to accept that each person has his own path and they don’t all look like mine.”

Gaff reeled in the first hook to find a large whiting on it. He smiled his appreciation. “That’s one thing. Another is that when Ivy is fighting with her neighbor, she’s not yelling at her family. Gives them a vacation, wouldn’t you say?”

Priscilla smiled. “I can see that. That would be a blessing for her family.”

The sound of the second hook being reeled in provided the background music. “What about all she does for her neighbor?”

Priscilla’s face was colored by exaggerated confusion. “What would that be?”

“His wife’s sick and he’s sick at heart about it. Maybe he uses that laundry to give Ivy an opening to start the yelling match so that he can get some of his anger out in a safe way.” Gaff put the fish into the cooler and pulled out enough bait for the two hooks. “He can’t very well scream at his wife for being sick or rail at God for taking her away. After all, he’s a devout church-goer.”

Priscilla nodded and smiled her recognition of a truth. “So Ivy gives him a way to vent all that pain? It only sounds like anger.”

The reel sang as baited hook sailed out into the water. “And the father who isn’t involved with his children teaches his children to spend more time with their own.”

“And the Ugly American tourist allows the residents of that country to value by contrast the reasoned traveler. One trying to force the culture into what he is used to and the other understanding the value of fitting into their culture.”

Another nod. “Like you trying to force Ivy to conform to your shoulds? The demanding tourist may also provide others with examples of what not to do.”

“The lesson can come in the form of what to do or what not to do.”

Gaff grinned. “We could go on and on, couldn’t we? Once you understand that every situation is as it is meant to be, you’re free to see the blessing in it. You’re free to break the hold of ‘shoulds’ that constrict your ability to appreciate the way things are.”

They returned to their seats, each thinking. Priscilla’s voice was filled with awe. “What a gift! Once you live this way, you can find happiness in any situation.”

“And in any person. Maybe that was the gift the Christ came to give us.”


*Lorena Peter, Ph.D., writes entertaining mysteries, romances and wisdom books.
All have strong spiritual underpinnings and paranormal elements. She blends aGaff By the Sea medical intuition and healing practice (and travel) with her writing. For more information go to WWW.LORENAPETER.COM. You may contact her on Facebook. For her understanding of the Course, she thanks Carmen Cameron and the class in Louisville, KY.