Monday, May 21, 2007

Big Galliot Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

0 nm
Wind: SE 15 knots

Karl’s fishermen friends from Farmers Cay showed up this morning to say hi, waking us up. They had a huge pile of conch in the boat, beautiful, pink, and wide-lipped, and gave us one for dinner. It was fantastic--sautéed in some garlic and olive oil, and then mixed up into Joy of Cooking Caribbean-style fritters with allspice and cayenne pepper. We used the spare hard bits as bait for bottom fish and ended up with a little snapper-like fish tonight, perfect for lunch for two tomorrow, and only our second fish kept on the boat. Exciting! I could get used to this seafood thing.

It’s great, too, to feel so connected with the locals. Our Australian friends on Pegasus anchored a fair ways away, but even though their boat is modest for a cruiser, it doesn’t inspire the immediate intimacy that our ratty small boat does. It’s either that or Karl’s tattoos, straw hat, and Jesus beard. He’s taken to brushing it straight out and calling himself Captain Weirdbeard. He may be going stir-crazy.

Karl even told them, honestly, how much we paid for our boat. Because Bahamian dollars are worth as much as US dollars, they understood that it’s cheap even by Bahamian standards. Our fisherman friend paid more than that for his brand new open fishing boat with 150-HP outboard. He’s supposed to come by one morning and take me diving and spear-fishing if the weather’s good, but the forecast’s atrocious, so I don’t know if that will happen.

I keep returning to this verse, what Christians call the Great Commission: “Go into all the world and teach the good news...” (my paraphrase.) My grandfather, the Greek exegete, has translated the verb in the active tense (the Greeks are all about verb tense), which would make it, “As you’re going into all the world...” I’ve always liked that interpretation of the missionary dictum. As you follow your path, laid out for you by the Spirit, teach those whom you meet the Good News.

I’m obviously not a textbook missionary, let alone a textbook Christian, but I keep thinking about the spiritual purpose of my journey wrapped up in that verse. These fishermen are a start. Not that I want to think of them with an ulterior motive, as I fear many missionaries do. I want to befriend them, to share the good news as I understand it: the possibility of a life like that of the lilies of the field, an escape from the pursuit of material goods, and a continued pilgrimage towards spiritual truth. I want to learn from them, too--the unexpressed half of the Great Commission. I don’t want to come thinking I have all the answers. I may have none. What I want for my journey is humility, openness, and truth.

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