Posted by: Botolff | July 12, 2009

John- The washed ashore commercial fisherman wanna be Somalian Pirate.

I have found that homeless people have been some of the best representation of the image of God in humanity to me, and they often slide into my life for but moments at the most “ironic” times.  This past week I was sitting on a park bench in downtown Seattle resting in my relationship with God, thanking him for his faithfulness despite what feels like sporadic faithfulness on my part.  And in dropped John.

I saw John chatting with someone about 20 feet from me before he headed my way.  Sometimes I’m anxious when homeless people approach me, maybe because I’m too self-conscious to know what to do with their self-consciousness.  But this time I acknowledged that I was quite confident and looking forward to what John might bring.  That’s when he walked up to me, shook my hand, exchanged first names with me and then promptly took a seat a few feet to my right.  Hanging to his side was a small 35mm digital camera case with camera in tow.

It wasn’t long before John shared with me that he would really like to become a Somalian Pirate, and document the activities of Somalian Pirates on his 35mm camera.  I told him he might be a bit conspicuous being that he is white, and conspicuousness may not be in his favor considering they may not take real kindly to him filming their activities.  He said he knows it would be a risk, but he’s up for the challenge.  He used to be a commercial fisherman in the Bering Sea after all, so he is convinced he can handle it.  I told him, if he decides to risk it that I would pray for his safety, and that he would get some good shots.

Somehow we shifted a bit and started talking about the directions we have chosen, some of the mistakes we’ve made, and what’s most important in life.  John’s conclusion on the ultimate values of life…have faith, live from the heart and try to have a clear conscience.  I told him, if I remember correctly, those are the kinds of things that God designed us for.  He quickly replied with, “That’s it man.  You get it (Botolff).  Not a lot of people do, but you definitely get it.”

Frankly, most days I don’t think I “get it.”  But with John’s help, I think I got something that day.  Sometimes I think we the church would learn a lot about God and ourselves if we would just listen to humble repentant people who offer simple messages about things like faith, the heart and a clear conscience.  I just wonder how willing we are to have the uncomfortable conversations.

A washed ashore commercial fisherman wanna be Somalian Pirate named John told me last week that I was “a good cat.”  I got blessed, and will remember my time with John for a long time to come.  Good luck John!  Arghhhhhhh!!!!


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