When my wife Pat and I first became ship visitors, we were under the direction of our Port Chaplain.
I always remember one of the first visits we made on our own which has taught me never to make quick judgements.
Pat & I went onboard a tanker that was in dry dock in Falmouth for repairs. We were welcomed by the crew member who was on watch, who showed us to the crew’s mess. We were asked to take a seat while 2 crew members were finishing off their evening meal. They were African and kept eating without saying a word or acknowledging our presence. I recall that there was a television on which we sat in front. After what felt like a long time, Pat & I started to question each other if we should leave. Eventually, one of these men stood up and approached us. He cut a very formidable figure as he was well over 6 feet tall and very muscular. We introduced ourselves and straight away said he knew Stella Maris. He said, “You are carrying out Gods work.” He then proceeded to talk about prayer and then burst into an African Lullaby.
As we sat and listened the 2nd African came over to say hello. He was of similar stature to his other crew member. He wore a very colourful sleeveless waistcoat. Pat told him that she liked his waistcoat and in the next moment, he started to take it off as he wanted to present Pat with this garment. He had no other garment covering the upper part of his body and Pat found herself pleading with him that the waistcoat would look better on him.
2 lovely spiritual men who taught us never to spring to conclusions.
Now 12 years later as the Port Chaplain of Falmouth & Fowey I always remember this encounter and never make quick judgements on the stranger I meet when carrying out a ship visit.