Subject: The Old Fisherman –
An interesting perspective (forwarded as


Our house was directly across the street from the clinic entrance of Johns
Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. We lived downstairs & rented the upstairs
rooms to outpatients 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 eight-year-old,' I thought as I stared at the stooped, shriveled body.

But the appalling thing was his face, lopsided from swelling, red & 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, & there's no bus 'till 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 &
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

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
over sized heart crowded into that tiny body. He told me he fished for a
living to support his daughter, her five children & 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 prefaced with thanks to God
for a blessing. He was grateful that no pain accompanied his disease, which
was apparently a form of skin cancer. He was thankful for the strength to
keep going.

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, & 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 &
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 & 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.

And on his next trip he arrived a little after seven in the morning. As a
gift, he brought a big fish & 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 & fresh. I knew his bus left at 4 a.m., & 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.

Other times we received packages in the mail, always by special delivery;
fish & oysters packed in a box of fresh young spinach or kale, every leaf
carefully washed. Knowing that he must walk three miles to mail these &
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 illness 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 & the good with gratitude...

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. There'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..

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward
appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'

Friends are very special. They make you smile & encourage you to succeed.
They lend an ear & they share a word of praise. Show your friends how much
you care.

Pass this on, & brighten someone's day. Nothing will happen if you do not
decide to pass it along. The only thing that will happen if you do pass it
on is that someone might smile because of you!

Never look down on anybody, unless you're helping them up.

"Life without God is like an unsharpened pencil -  it has no point."