Nobody has ever accused me of being a great fisherman, but when I was seven or eight I knew how to catch perch by the bucket load. I would lie down flat on the sun-warmed dock my dad had built and peek over the edge to the water just below. I had a galvanized minnow bucket with a rope attached to the handle. I would swing my bucket into the water to fill up, and then let it drop down several feet straight below me.
Holding onto the end of my rope, I would wait.
Before long, a fish or two would swim into sight between me and the minnow bucket…..then a couple more. Others would join while some drifted away randomly, without appearing to move a single fin. By this point I would start to slowly pull my bucket up by squeezing the rope between my thumb and forefinger, and drawing the line into the palm of my hand.
If I pulled too fast or jerked the line at all, the perch I could see below me would instantly disappear into the light green haze that surrounded my shiny disk of of a target. But if I stuck with it and maintained patience, the walls of the bucket would creep up around my prey. Amazingly, more fish would continue to join the party in even greater numbers, attracted either to the bright bucket, their buddies, or both. Ever so slowly, the walls would cut newcomers off too as they contentedly joined their buddies, unknowingly keeping station with the bucket as it rose to the surface.
Closer the bucket came until the rim was just below the surface, and then triumphantly I would draw it up: swinging container and all contents onto the deck beside me in one fluid motion. On a good day, there would be over forty perch crowded fin to fin in my bucket.
I believe there are instances in life where patience can pay off. Saving for retirement is one of those instances. The contributions we make each payroll period are just like the small, ever so slight tugs on a rope but if we stay the course and stick with a plan, we will be rewarded.