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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"You Look Like You Could Use A Boat Ape"

Be not anxious about what you have, but about what you are.
- St. Gregory the Great

There was a time going into the Dry Tortugas during a storm that we almost put the boat on a reef.  Boats from all over were seeking shelter in the small harbor.  By the time that we arrived there was limited space.

Michael was driving the boat and I was at the anchor.  We tried at least five times in the driving rain, wind and swells to anchor the boat.  The anchor would not hold.  The winch that lifted the anchor and the anchor chain was broken.  I had to drop and raise the anchor by hand. Each time they got heavier, yet I had to drop it and lift it back up.  We were exhausted from our efforts.  To make me even more disheartened was that we were with a buddy boat that got in earlier and were anchored.  They offered no help.

Just as we were about to give up a large Samoan came aboard and said, "You look like you could use a boat ape."  With those words he took over the anchoring and his friend guided us to a patch of sand that would hold us.  Incredibly after anchoring us they returned with two thermoses.  One held the best coffee I had ever tasted and the other was full of warm soup.  There was warm bread and cookies in another bag.  They then took our daughter over to one of their boats were they had all their kids watching a Disney movie.

Those strangers sheltered us.  They fed us.  If you haven't been to the Dry Tortugas then you may not be aware that there are NO supplies there, not even water!  They shared what they had with us.  They shared with people that they had never met before.  They were our good Samaritans.

As Lent begins tomorrow  I was reminded of these two families and how they acted towards this boat of strangers.  They were better to us than our "friends".  They were willing to sacrifice from their own supplies.  They offered food, comfort and companionship in a harsh environment.

As I sit in the desert far from the ocean I am reminded of what it means to give, to shelter, and to comfort.

O Lord,
I stand before you lost in the mire.
My heart is heavy and I am lost.

Help me to turn my focus from myself
but to others.

Help me to give,
to shelter,
and to comfort.


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