There is a significantly different life experience behind each context.
I suppose we could debated whether we chose, simply fell into, or had these life circumstances thrust upon us. But the truth might be that it is probably a combination of all three.
Well, i made it back to the east coast of Canada and I am sewing trap webbing to make lobster trap funnels and heads for the traps i built last fall shortly before heading over to West Africa.
I know all this fishing stuff probably sounds mundane to most of you, but I enjoy working with my hands, designing and building my own gear, because it is a very creative process that many new fisherman have little experience with nowadays. Then using what you have made to put food on the table.
Also, there is now something lifelong magical in my roots about working in a rustic workshop near a wood fire stove. That place you walk to every day when you are not at sea.
I have come full circle. I once saw my fishing up brininging as a tied down life. How incredibly wrong I was.
Here I am, a fishing captain, living off the sea, and yet the sands of the Sahara Desert are also my home as a humanitarian development worker in a unique region that is inaccessible for half the year.
My fishing enables me to be that worker who enters in quickly, and then leaves, when carreer internationals need a job all year round.
I no longer feel tied down just because I’m connected and still attached to my mysterious fishing shanty on Prince Edward Island. But this little place does not mean my world or my thinking is locked down small.
“Most of us are never told that we can set out from the known and the familiar to take on a further journey.”
(Richard Rohr. Falling Upward)
I’ve stepped into a further down journey, from here, as a fisherman. Does that make sense?
Would you believe me if i told you that my ministry, my former theology bound life actually prevented my deeper down journey? That was my tied down stage, and a conversation few wish to have with me. Too many of these folks automatically assign you as being bitter over some hurt (I’ve not had any), selfish for not wanting to play their game (I serve as much, and in harder places), rebellious, non committed……. etc
It is difficult to speak through people’s prejudgement labels or erroneous assumptions, so I don’t. I have attachments and connections with people of faith that can’t be broken, though i have little interest in merely attending and managing most of their things personally.
“The supposed achievements of the first half of life have to fall apart and show themselves to be wanting in some way, or we will not move further. Why would we?” (Richard Rohr. FALLING Upward)
I enjoy being a humanitarian. I enjoy my spiritual pursuits, and I am enjoying being a fisherman too.
During my first day back in the workshop, as I strolled through my woods back to the house for lunch, not only did I take pictures of fungus, I also picked up a pencil and did a quick sketch with coffee in hand. I’m no artist, just a late forties man with a crayon in hand like an unskilled two year old, who can’t draw for shit. But the rare times I do sketch it helps me see, think, and be.
My first day back in the fishing shack on Canada’s east coast was a very good day in my life.
So the transformation is complete, for now. The Invisible Fisherman has emerged and The Invisible Humanitarian is at rest, for now.
I may be connected and attached to Africa, the sea, to faith, and to fishing. But I no longer feel tied down by anything. I’m owning my own script, if there even is one. I’ll take my Island, lobster trap stitching, tree fungus picture taking, strolling, sketching, spiritual seeking life for what it is.
And what is it?
It’s my life!
“The first half of life is discovering the script, and the second half is actually writing it and owning it.” (Richard Rohr. Falling Upward)