CATCH now updated and complete.
The following is a photobook called CATCH . I can’t display it like it was possible to in the book, but I’ve done my best to begin to tell the story on the website.
C A T C H
Indian Ocean, Kenya
On a much needed holiday in Kenya in 2008 with my husband, we saw a captivating drama played out on the beach in front of our hotel on the second evening.
Why were a large number of people on the water’s edge screaming excited encouragement? Why were others running backwards and forwards into the turbulent waves at times engulfed and overthrown by the sea?
As we watched it soon became clear that the fishermen had been fortunate enough to capture a huge haul of sardines. However, the catch proved too heavy for the net. Anxious not to lose or destroy the precious village net, the fisherman had torn it in order to release the now dead sardines. Consequently the waters were awash with silver fish their scales flashing as they tossed and twisted in the rhythmic surf. It was an irresistible moment and I swiftly joined in together with the villagers to help rescue what we could of the catch. Then realising what I was part of I ran for my camera.
The photos in this book illustrate certain moments of what was a unique experience. I have used a wonderful opportunity to take what is seen and apply it to the unseen; to allow that which is empirical to impact upon that which is spiritual. Alongside the pictures I write musings, thoughts, a parable, and try and give away a little of what for me was unmistakable treasure.
There are always those that know where the bounty is,
but many of us search and return empty handed.
We forage in the same place but whereas some
run to embrace and rejoice in what they find,
we despair of finding that for which we search.
Beware the whisper that tempts to stop our quest;
the ugly thoughts that convince us we are not worthy
for payment, reward, gift or blessing.
It shuts our eyes so we cannot see.
It closes our ears so we cannot hear.
It locks up our hearts so we cannot receive.
There are many gifts with our name on them.
L O O K
Seek and you will find
Open your eyes
Be still and know
Dig deep in the rubbish for gold Empty prejudices Feel without sight
Made to find the treasure
L E A D E R S H I P
WE ARE NOT MEANT TO LIVE ALONE….. TO WORK ALONE…… TO EAT ALONE……
“Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and yes, Earth itself and every animal that moves on the face of Earth…..”
The treasure that we seek is hidden in dangerous places. The elements threaten us and often overwhelm us. If we stand alone then our spirit grows weary, our hearts get sick, our body begins to crumble. However brave we are we find ourselves separated from that which we hunt and our minds become depressed. If we walk alongside each other, strength builds upon strength builds upon strength. Then in the face of the elements we can laugh, we find joy, there is friendship and the discovery of true helpmates and fellow travellers. The gold in the journey is as costly as that for which we search made all the more precious because it must be shared.
DO NOT BE CAST DOWN
D O N O T B E A F R A I D
Sometimes, when we finally catch a glimpse of that which we seek, panic rises like a storm threatening. The vision that we have kept pinned to our hearts for so long is within our grasp and without warning our fingers go numb. For now is the moment when self doubt infuses our being. Are we really who we say we are? We know we are not ready. We know we have much to learn. As we realise the moment has come to lift our head above the parapet, we are afraid that we will be found out to be the liar we truly know we are. And yet… is wanting – lying; is aspiration – lying; is courage in going for what we see – lying? The truth is we are what we are and yet not what we will become. We journey, like everyone else. Why do we not realise that all are filled with self-doubt.
We are all praying that we will not be found out, found wanting, found empty at the moment we are expected to be full.
We must find our faith under such fire,
stand our ground,
grasp with our numb fingers
and pray that in our micro minute of importance,
life is there even when we cannot feel it,
and unhesitatingly embrace
TOGETHER strength and purpose bring i n c r e a s e
B O U N T Y
The village net – too precious to be ripped apart and lost. Rather the catch must be loosed in order to retrieve the net. Kept whole it may be mended and continue to be used for the benefit of all.
What is real treasure? Where is it to be found?
What does it look like?
When we lie dying, gasping our last breath we will not hold out our hand and ask that it be filled with gold. Cold death requires no money to grease its iced white palm. We will not open our tired eyes and ask that we might see the deeds of bricks and mortar that we have purchased. We will not want our ears filled with the sound of the finances that we have amassed. We will not wish that we could work just one more hour, one more day.
Rather we will want the sound of loved ones gathered so that we know we are not alone; to hear their laughter. We will want the hand we cherish most holding ours. We will want to look upon our nearest and dearest and gaze on each beloved face. Our wish perhaps that we had another hour, another day, another decade to watch all we love grow more, mature further, blossom in the love with which they have surrounded themselves.
Why do we gather that which will not fill the heart? Why do we allow separation from all that is of most value? Why then do we look for that which does not feed the soul?
The women waited their turn.
They stood back until most of
the fish had been caught.
Perhaps they were afraid of
Perhaps, like many women
in our world, that which they
should be due can, so easily,
be robbed from them.
They waited until they were
allowed to pick at the
Women are at their best when they are….
…..loved and loving
– because then they blossom
producing a fragrance that is altogether delightful for life and living
– for their capacity to give is truly great
….. listened to and heard
– out of that security they will encourage and cheer on those they love, which will be many
….. treated with respect and honour
– then they know they are ‘seen’ and understand
they do not need to shout
– then they will not feel they have to make their own light
or take the light of others
but will give what they have
– it allows home to be filled with a rumbling joy
– their presence enriches and ennobles
….. seated equally at the table
their intelligence and wisdom enhances and completes
God created human beings:
He created them godlike,
reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
I love you, I accept you, I like you, I set you free, I know your name, I heal your hurt, I am your best friend, I died for you, I like your sense of humour
I will never let you go, I will tell you my secrets
I will never abuse you, I think you are important, I know you can make a difference
I can help you contribute, I will never leave you, I can be trusted, I understand your pain
I think you are beautiful, I believe in you, I always hear you call, I am beside you
I will always treat you with respect, I will make you clean, I will take away your feature
Well-being springs from our ability to embrace the moment and truly be alive.
The sky was unending blue, creaseless, an upturned sea perfect in form without end or measure. The sun still on the one sea, pranced on the water of the other which rose and fell in unending jockeying. The ocean as it churned onto the steeply graduated shore, fizzed like coca-cola when vanilla ice-cream is dropped into it.
A million fronds of seaweed like brown liquorice tumbled, tightly woven, into the melange.
As he stood in the effervescent mixture the young boy, his balance sure, waited. His hungry eyes scanned the displacement. He had no doubt his turn would come. Others had taken their catch from the maelstrom; patience would bring its own reward.
He did not try and steal from the catch of others.
He did not look about for someone else to hand him what he believed was his due
Young as he was, he waited, hands outstretched, fingers feeling, searching, separating, a fleshy sieve, for what he KNEW was there. He wanted his own catch, he did not look for the catch of others. What he caught for himself he could legitimately call his own and take home to be cleaned, cooked and shared. A man among men in his gathering.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. He had seen in the water an occasional glint as scales reflected in the sun like gold in the pan. Occasionally the flash of a glassy eye.
To him it was enough to know that the substance of what he hoped for was indeed enfolded in the water. He would search, determined, until he collected all he was looking for.
How often have you felt found out? Like you’ve been caught with your fingers inside the box of chocolates? Whatever you do you feel like people watch and somehow you don’t match up.That’s the trouble with comparison.
Rarely do we compare ourselves with those that are worse than us, rather we compare ourselves with those that fly higher, faster, more accurately and therefore seem to receive more rewards.
And what do you get? Are you someone who feels like they get the fish ends rather than the full-on fish; the left-overs rather than participating at the banquet that everybody else seems to be enjoying.
When I was teaching I knew a little girl of 6 who was so lacking in self-worth, that when I gave out stickers to the whole class so delighted was I with everyone’s work, she wouldn’t let me put it on her. She knew, absolutely knew she didn’t deserve it. None of us deserve anything, but when we start to understand that, it becomes the very thing that qualifies usto begin to receive everything.
Of course it depends what ‘everything’ means. I’m not talking about things that cost a lot of money, not ‘stuff’. Rather it means we are at last able to look for and discover ‘grace’;that unbelievable, out-of-superlatives gift that is available for each of us because of Jesus.
Yet what if family was a verb not a noun?
What if family incorporated all those you developed relationship with?
What if we had a view that those around us were brothers and sisters? What if we extended our home and hospitality without boundary and gave ourselves away in loving kindness.
We were designed not for ourselves alone, but also for others that together we might make home.
in confident expectation,
No thought of disappointment,
grasped or un-grasped
seen or unseen
the treasure is real.
It is for him,
of that he is sure.
The next day every home in the village had sardines drying in the sun.
Be happy – this day is a good day.