Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Catch and Release

In "Same Kind of Different as Me" Denver Moore is a tough homeless man, raised in virtual slavery till a young man, then a citizen of the streets for decades. It was a divine appointment that brought him into contact with Ron and Debbie Hall, two tireless volunteers at the Fort Worth Union Gospel Mission.

Over a period of weeks, Ron tried to initiate a friendship with Denver - to no avail. Then when he least expected it, the following comments from Denver shook Ron to his core:

"I been thinkin a lot about what you asked me - 'bout being your friend." He looked up from his coffee, fixing me with one eye, the other squinted like Clint Eastwood. "There's somethin I heard 'bout white folks that bothers me, and it has to do with fishin."

"I heard that when white folks go fishin they do somethin called 'catch and release.'"

"That really bothers me," Denver went on. "I just can't figure it out. 'Cause when colored folks go fishin, we really proud of what we catch, and we take it and show it off to everybody that'll look. Then we eat what we other words, we use it to sustain us. So it really bothers me that white folks would go to all that trouble to catch a fish, then when they done caught it, just throw it back in the water."

"So, Mr. Ron, it occurred to me: if you is fishin for a friend you jus gon'catch and relase, then I ain't got no desire to be your friend."

Suddenly his eyes gentled and he spoke more softly than before: "But if you is lookin for a real friend, then I'll be one. Forever."

Denver Moore knows about friendship. Self-described as someone with "layers of street on me a mile thick," Denver, in that powerfully simple exchange above, unveiled a whole new meaning of friendship to Ron Hall - one that would sustain them both in the days ahead.

The book is "Same Kind of Different as Me." It's a true-life story of what happens when we allow God to break through our histories and past, in order to write His future on our lives.
As Denver says: "I used to spend a lot of time worryin that I was different from other people, even from other homeless folks. Then, after I met Miss Debbie and Mr. Ron, I worried that I was so different from them that we wadn't ever gon' have no kind a' future. But I found out everybody's different - the same kind of different as me. We're all just regular folks walkin down the road God done set in front of us."

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