We received a package yesterday from two of our reader/supporters that had me a little puzzled at first. It was accompanied by a note: “My wife Colleen and I came across this and thought of you.” Too large to be place mats, it appeared to be two linen cloths — perhaps dish towels — folded and tied together with a bow. The first one had a pattern of red and blue nautical anchors, and I thought: “Uh … okay … what is this?” and then I unfolded the other and found a picture of a sailor and a mermaid with the title “Catch of the Day.” It brought a big smile to my face.
I later showed it to Marti and she suggested I write about it. At first I didn’t see much to write about until, looking at it more carefully, I discovered some interesting details. First, it seems that she is happier than he is. He seems to be bothered by something. Then I noticed he is pointing at her. What could that mean? And finally, she has a cloud over her head that is twice as big as his.
After some thought, I have come up with this: She dives into life and finds the happy part of anything. Though she has much that troubles her (she has all that stuff going on above her head) she chooses not to let that keep her from entering into other people’s joy. She swims in a sea of trouble but comes alive when anyone is around her. It’s as if she is able to pull the smallest joy out of someone, blow it up, and give it back to them as a gift. Her thoughts don’t stay inside her head; they are constantly leading her out of herself into expression through engaging in the lives of others.
He, on the other hand, has less but more troublesome things going on in his head, and because he keeps things more to himself, they get trapped inside making him less engaged with those around him. The little bit he is able to focus on at a time troubles him to the extent that he loses focus and forgets sometimes why he is a sailor.
His finest catch is his mermaid, but she has also became his biggest problem. This is because he has used her so much as a scapegoat that he actually believes his problems are all her fault. As long as he believes this, he doesn’t have to fix anything. He needs to quit pointing and do more productive things with his hands like fishing for men. It’s what his Captain sent him sailing for in the first place.
Meanwhile, she’s going to go on diving into life, holding things only long enough to share them with someone else. She’s just giving him back what he’s unwilling to keep, and if he sees this, he will be able to pull up anchor and sail to greater things.
Thank you, Steve and Colleen for thinking of us and for what you couldn’t possibly have known was just what I needed.