As I walked the beaches of Chennai and talk with the fishermen casting their nets there is an interesting sense of priorities. While they are overwhelmed by life itself – having lost their boats to tsunami, still grabbling with the memories of friends who are no longer here, and wondering what happens next, they are getting on with the business of living. At the heart of this business is their spirituality, life itself, and fishing in anyway they can. They lack boats, so the answer is casting nets and simple fishing lines from the beach. It isn’t much. Yet at the heart of what their intent I find three things they hold onto which I frequently have lost my grip.
First, life is an integral whole composed of Divinity, family, and living. You cannot separate yourself from the three elements. Engaging in life means everything must exists in harmony, balance, and purpose.
Second, taking care of family business shapes everything to follow. One could never begin to think of the possibility of losing lose touch with the immediate needs of those under one’s care. Engaging with the extended family is as much a part of life as living, breathing, and taking care of business.
Third, no matter what happens, press on. Lost your means to conduct your business (fishing boats in their case)? No worries. Press on two tracks. Pursue every avenue to get another boat and fish anyway you can!
In a way the conversation with the fisherman echoed words uttered long ago. When life overwhelms, remember “you always have the poor with you. You don't always have me [God].” (John 12.8) So hold onto the values you hold most precious. Never lose site of what makes you whole. And above all, live! It is easy to get hung up in the pressures and contradictions of trying to live. Everything gets confusing! Yet we are in the business of hope. This comes from God. It is integral to everything we are and do. It starts with life. Today is an opportunity to bring it all together.
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