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The Whale

A few years ago, I read a front-page story in one of San Francisco’s local newspapers, the SF Chronicle, about a female humpback whale that became entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped all around her body including her tail and a line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that the whale was in such dire straits that the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her. It was a very dangerous proposition considering that one slap of her tail could kill a rescuer.

The team worked together for hours with curved knives and eventually freed the whale.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles. She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them gently, as if to say “Thank you for helping me.”

Some of the team members said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives. The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time and he will never be the same.

It’s important to realize that there are some things we cannot do alone (no matter how strong we are) and we will need the help of others, just as there will be times when others need us to step up and help them.

May you, and all those you love, be so blessed and fortunate as to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.

And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude.

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