He Who Hesitates
I first met Kim and Mack while Steven and I were both paddling past a Canadian sailing vessel aligned-moored at Warderick Wells - the headquarters of the Exuma Land and Sea Park. Steven, being the ever-amicable and consummate Canadian, had noticed fellow-countryfolk from the stern of PEACE and QUIET and stopped by for a how-do-you-do while I kayaked further ahead. I soon turned around to join their boat chat.
A day later our crews again shared pleasantries ashore at a "happy hour" beach-gathering of boaters, drinks and appetizers.
Three days later and 45 miles to the west in Nassau Kim found me blogging on my laptop at a coffee shop. After a short conversation, she suddenly invited me to her boat for a pizza dinner. I unexpectedly hesitated and offered some lame excuse of busyness but then readily recanted and accepted her gracious gesture.
At 6:00 I motored my dinghy from Mystique over to their 38' sloop berthed 100 yards away at a nearby marina. I immediately apologized for my earlier hesitancy; she commented she wasn't sure I would show up. I mentioned to her my reluctance had nothing to do with her. Her cordial and hospitable offer had simply surprised me as well.
We all conversed easily and she showed me her galley and space below deck. BTW - Her pizza was divine and a welcome respite from my "home" cooking.
I gradually realized my wavering had to do with a past impulse to accept the kindness of strangers. I realized I was hesitant initially not because I am antisocial or unfriendly, but because I'm not always attuned to accept spontaneous invites. Too complicated a boring history to relate here and too layered to explain to her. As introspective as I tend to be, I wanted to understand why this was this my first impulse? I did not feel like me in that hesitant moment, but it was part of my past. I finally concluded Kim's unexpected gesture triggered some hidden reaction inside me which I soon appreciated as part of her generosity.
I knew my writing and sharing this post would help me get more in touch with this aspect of my character. That is after all one of my main reasons for my blog - so I can articulate and understand life better as know who I am, have been and am growing into.
Of course, inviting another into your home is one of life's greatest gestures. It's a compliment. It's a kindness and a comfort "Come see where I live, how I live, what I live. See my life. Share my food with me in harmony." It's almost as close to opening one's heart as one can get without jumping out of our skin. It's an ultimate generous gesture that has been part of my experience sailing. The incredible community of boaters
And the irony is I have invited people I have like immediately onboard Mystique. In fact, I'm waiting a family of 6, I invited onboard last year as the husband and wife paddled by me on their kayaks. Isabel actually called out my name "Hi Henry" To my surprise, Isabel knew about me before I knew her. She had researched Mystique and my blog on the internet.
And they had even read some of my writings. Gus even asked me about one of my mystery stories - "Who was that you rescued?" During their hour onboard we talked like old friends and soon the invites were flying! To their home, to sailing, to some meals ashore, to a meal onboard and eventually to a one-week vacation in the Bahamas with their whole family of 6. Looking forward to their arrival.
Funny, how different my first impulses were. I was more comfortable comfortable extending an invite that accepting one. Interesting! But glad I encountered both.