How are you?
"How are you?" Chris asks the young face he encounters as he signs in at the top of the ladder to board the African-Tern. It seems like a simple key – one that changes the sombre cynicism of the face meeting every new arrival, into a smile that reaches the laughter lines around the eyes. Funny what a simple question can do.
"What do you need here, today?" is the question that causes a young Turkish seaman in Port Elizabeth to stop in his tracks and turn around. It is a question that he had not heard in a long time. It is a question that shows interest in him, a question that exposes something of an interest in him and his wellbeing... and perhaps, maybe, the simple question touches something in the landscape of his heart. It inspires Yuri to talk about his family in Istanbul with love and longing. It makes him talk about his big plans for the future and eventually also about the tempestuous feelings and struggles with his faith. All the answer to the right question.
"How is your family?", a simple question in Cape Town, opens the flood gates of the heart of a seaman from the Philippines. "What do you fear so much?" turns the key to a discussion in Richards Bay. "Why are you crying?" does the same on another day in Koega. Asking is often the key to longer discussions that would otherwise have warranted a single word answer. A mere question is the key to longer, meaningful discussion.
"Why do you cry?" Jesus asks Maria. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" after Jesus washed feet... It is unbelievable what the right question can do.
Here at the CSO, we ask men working at sea questions every day. Sometimes the question is as simple as ‘How are you?'. On face value it is simple but, in reality, it is a complex question. In the lives of men working at sea it is particularly valuable, because so few ask the question. People seldom care enough, people seldom have enough time to spare, people seldom have time to listen to their hearts...
Together with the questions that we ask, we have a strong conviction about the answer and where it is anchored. It is intricately based on Him that tells the paralysed man to get up and walk. It lies in the hope built on an empty grave.
Don't you want to support us financially in support of asking these truly important questions. Your contribution will help so much to remind those that sail the seas of the age-old question: ‘Who is this Man then, even the wind and the waves obey him?'