It's 9:29 PM in Galilee, and I imagine that the sun is setting over the sea, because here the sun sets in the west, and because the sun sets later here, naturally.
A small little courier pigeon dodges boys throwing rocks, and drops off a small epistle on the doorstep of a very old Peter.
The small little scroll contains a tiny message from Paul.
It seems as though the Apostle to the Gentiles may resent and yet relies on his Foundation of Rock to keep him grounded throughout his travels to all the corners of the globe.
Keeping up a correspondence by carrier pigeon is not only anachronistic of Paul, it's borderline eccentric.
But Peter tolerates the younger set's strange whims with a smile.
Some fads ebb and swell, just like the tides of the sea.
Peter is more concerned with things that last.
He thinks of permanence and shadowlands as he cautiously watches the pigeon fly away.
He kneels down gingerly, and picks up the minuscule scroll.
The Oh-So-Verbose one has broken off a little piece of his heart and molded it into words.
Peter sits down in the dirt of the front door stoop and reads:
Depending on people is difficult for me in general, and so it's hard to be vulnerable in that way because it's a lot easier to detach and not care as much and so cut off the jealousy
I think there's a certain level that everyone's comfortable letting people in, but letting people in past that comfort point is scary.
If someone worms their way into my heart enough for me to care very deeply about them, I depend on them. I depend upon them to understand me and love me and share my life with me which means I have to give of myself and be vulnerable and make an effort to share myself with them.
And then I have to deal with all the insecurity of depending on people, and the fact that no one will ever live up to what you wish them to be.
He has left Jerusalem, with the crowds and the noise and the bustle and returned, for a day or two, to rest on the shore where he caught his first fish.
Paul was never a fisherman, but he seems, according to Peter's quick diagnosis, to think that fishing for men means an endless series of catch-and-release.
He sits down to write a quick response on the back of a spare scrap of scroll that has written on it: a people for God's own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Peter thought that was quite a nice line, and made a note to use it in something. Paul was sometimes rather obnoxious about how good at correspondence he was. And was being particularly insufferable about a particular letter he just wrote to the Corinthians.
You'd think he was the first person in the world to write a letter postmarked to Corinth, huffed Peter. But he smiled, because Paul's letters were usually something else.
He had a gift for words, that one.
“Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect.” Norman MacLean is referring to fly-fishing. But I believe his words hold true for fishers of souls.
Cast out all fear, put out in the deep.
Don't believe for a second that the world, and the people in it, are perfect.
Don't love people because they are good.
They're not--only your Father in Heaven is good.
Love them because they're human beings who will probably disappoint, betray, and deny you (Peter's eyes teared up a bit, and he bit his lip, paused for a moment, and collected himself before continuing), but all that's immaterial in the end, because they are human beings made in the image and likeness of God. If that's not reason enough to love someone, than nothing is.
And the deeper you grow in love, the more vulnerable you're asked to be, and that's going to hurt.
But love never fails
(do you even read your own writing?)
Chesterton says it best, my son:
“The men of the East may spell the stars,
And times and triumphs mark,
But the men signed of the cross of Christ
Go gaily in the dark.”
Peter was not a believer in interacting with pigeons, so he left the scroll on the front doorstep, and whistled for one of the little "demon birds" (as he often referred to them) to come and fetch it.
The sun had just set, and the stars had come out.
When I see stars that's all they are, he hummed happily to himself.
He set out to walk for a bit along the shore, watching the heavens slip from iridescent sunset through misty dusk, into velvet night.
“And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them - we can love completely without complete understanding.”
--Norman MacLean, A River Runs Through It