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"Fill your mind with light, happiness, hope, feelings of security and strength, and soon your life will reflect these qualities." ~Unknown

Email me anytime: coreen.velvetoversteel@gmail.com

"The Greatest gift that you can give to others is the gift of unconditional love and acceptance!" ~Brian Tracy

All post and stories are the sole property of Velvet Over Steel aka Coreen Trost. I write and create post in order to help others, so share as you want. I just ask that you link back or give VOS credit. Some of the stories are going into a book in progress. Thank You ALL.. for your support and help!!
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." ~ John Quincy Adams

Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweet Old Fisherman...


"Compassion is sometimes the fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else's skin.  It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too." ~Frederick Buechner
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The following story is true and shared from Karin's blog "Yesterday, Today and Forever ~ Jesus is the Same".   I hope no one has dry eyes with this one....
Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of   Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  We lived downstairs and rented the upstairs rooms to out-patients at the clinic.   
One summer evening as I was fixing supper, there was a knock at the door.  I opened it to see a truly awful looking man.  "Why, he's hardly taller than my 8-year-old," I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.  But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red and raw.  
Yet his voice was pleasant as he said, "Good evening.  I've come to see if you've a room for just one night.  I came for a treatment this morning from the eastern shore, and there's no bus 'til morning."   
He told me he'd been hunting for a room since noon but with no success, no one seemed to have a room.  "I guess it's my face .... I know it looks terrible, but my doctor says with a few more treatments .."  

For a moment I hesitated, but his next words convinced me: "I could sleep in this rocking chair on the porch.  My bus leaves early in the morning." I told him we would find him a bed, but to rest on the porch..  I went inside and finished getting supper.  When we were ready, I asked the old man if he would join us.  "No, thank you.  I have plenty."  And he held up a  brown paper bag. 
  
When I had finished the dishes, I went out on the porch to talk with him a few minutes.  It didn't take a long time to see that this old man had an oversized heart crowded into that tiny body.  He told me he fished for a living to support his daughter, her 5 children, and her husband, who was hopelessly crippled from a back injury. 

He didn't tell it by way of complaint; in fact, every other sentence was preface with a thanks to God for a blessing.  He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which was apparently a form of skin cancer.  He thanked God for giving him the strength to keep going... 
And, on his next trip, he arrived a little after 7 in the morning.  As a gift, he brought a big fish and a quart of the largest oysters I had ever seen!  He said he had shucked them that morning before he left so that they'd be nice and fresh.  I knew his bus left at 4:00 a.m. And I wondered what time he had to get up in order to do this for us.   
In the years he came to stay overnight with us, there was never a time that he did not bring us fish or oysters or vegetables from his garden.  

At bedtime, we put a camp cot in the children's room for him.  When I got up in the morning, the bed linens were neatly folded and the little man was out on the porch. He refused breakfast, but just before he left for his bus, haltingly, as if asking a great favor, he said, "Could I please come back and stay the next time I have a treatment?  I won't put you out a bit.  I can sleep fine in a chair."  He paused a moment and then added, "Your children made me feel at home.  Grownups are bothered by my face, but children don't seem to mind." I told him he was welcome to come again.  

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery; fish and oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf carefully washed.  Knowing that he must walk 3 miles to mail these, and knowing how little money he had made the gifts doubly precious. 


When I received these little remembrances, I often thought of a comment our next-door neighbor made after he left that first morning. "Did you keep that awful looking man last night?  I turned him away!  You can lose roomers by putting up such people!" Maybe we did lose roomers once or twice.  But, oh!, if only they could have known him, perhaps their illnesses would have been easier to bear. 

I know our family always will be grateful to have known him; from him we learned what it was to accept the bad without complaint and the good with gratitude to God. Recently I was visiting a friend, who has a greenhouse, as she showed me her flowers, we came to the most beautiful one of all, a golden chrysanthemum, bursting with blooms.  But to my great surprise, it was growing in an old dented, rusty bucket.  I thought to myself, "If this were my plant, I'd put it in the loveliest container I had!" 

My friend changed my mind.  "I ran short of pots," she explained, "and knowing how beautiful this one would be, I thought it wouldn't mind starting out in this old pail.  It's just for a little while, till I can put it out in the garden." She must have wondered why I laughed so delightedly, but I was imagining just such a scene in heaven. "Here's an especially beautiful one," God might have said when he came to the soul of the sweet old fisherman.  "He won't mind starting in this small body." All this happened long ago - and now, in God's garden, how tall this lovely soul must stand.   I hope no one forgets that Sweet Old Fisherman and the lessons for us all in his story.

"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at..  
Man looks at the outward appearance, 
but the LORD looks at the heart." 
1 Samuel 16:7b

7 comments:

  1. What a beautiful story...I have cold chills. A lesson for us all.

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  2. It certainly is a lesson for us all.
    Enjoyed the read.

    Yvonne.

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  3. What a good soul the fisherman have. It's true, the pure and golden hearth of men cannot be seen and measured by physical appearance.

    I also admire the family who showed him acceptance despite how he looks. It's a touching story. Thanks for sharing it Coreen. I will share this to my friends. It made me cry.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great story! It is the inward light shinning out that should guide us, if only we could see. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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