Having a close relationship with another person doesn't mean we know that person. On the page of the Catholic Times devoted to spirituality, the columnist wants us to consider a flaw in the thinking of many of us: because we are close to someone we also tend to think we know the person. What do we really know, he asks, about the persons we know best?
columnist tells us about a trip he made to his hometown with a number
of priest friends. It was a remote fishing village and one of the
villagers, who was closer to the columnist than to his own brother, came
with a car to escort them to the village. On arriving at his house they
quickly unpacked, put on comfortable clothes, and went out to some
rocks overlooking the ocean. The scene was beautiful, and they became
engrossed in pleasant chatting. Pyong Cheol, who had escorted them to
the village and brought them to this spot on the ocean, suddenly said it
was in this place that he caught over ten octopuses.
columnist, thinking that Pyong Cheol was showing off in front his
friends, said, "That's a whopper of a tale! You never know what's
possible, even when surrounded by mountains. Are
you saying you know these waters like the women divers of Jejudo?"
Cheol, greatly surprised, said, "Is that the kind of person you take me to be? If I go into the
water and come back with two octopuses, what will you say?"
"If you can do that during my stay here, I will do anything you want, and if you don't catch any, you buy us our meal tonight."
the columnist already had decided to buy Pyong Cheol the meal that
evening, for his kindness in picking them up, he couldn't lose the bet,
whatever the outcome. The priests on hearing the terms of the bet
responded with laughter and applause.
Cheol took off his upper garments, moved his body with a few light
movements and splashed his way into the calm waters of the ocean, which
at that point were not deep. The group sat looking at what would
transpire, chatting about what would be eaten that evening, and enjoying the ocean breeze and the sun.
Pyong Cheol, off at a distance, came
walking toward them, holding two octopuses, one in each hand. Catching
octopuses with your bare hands is no easy task, but two of them! They
all marveled at the feat. Pyong Cheol lived in an mountainous area quite a distance
ocean, raising pigs. Who would have thought he would know how to catch
octopus, the columnist wondered, which brought to mind the thought that
one never can know another no matter how close we may be to that
priests gave Pyong Cheol a round of applause, and one of them went to a
nearby store to buy some hot pepper sauce and vinegar, prior to enjoying the meal and ribbing the columnist on his bet
with Pyong Cheol, who said he would telephone him the next day on what
he wanted done.
The next day his friend's wife sent him a text message telling him that her husband was thinking
of having him clean the pig pens, but thought it would not be proper to
have a priest do such work. The wife then said, laughing, that her husband had excused him from the
columnist said he had learned a good lesson, and that he would be slow
in the future to jump to conclusions, thinking that because he knows a
person, he would know what that person would do.