Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Story of Near Tragedy, Courage and Gratitude

Often we remember the worst of the news. Stories of greed, malice, deception and all manner of cruelty that frightens us and keeps us from trusting and hoping. Then, along comes a story of such bravery, courage and gratitude that we are uplifted.

I received an email about a 50-ton female humpback whale who became unmercifully entwined in long, heavy crab pot lines in San Francisco bay. She could barely keep her blowhole above the water line. A fishing boat captain saw her plight and called for a rescue team.

The rescuers could tell that the ropes were cutting in so deeply there was blubber in the water. The divers held out little hope for her survival. However, that little spark of hope was just enough for them to risk getting in the water with her.

They knew full well the damage she could do to the divers if she became frightened by their actions. The divers needed time to cut through heavy ropes entangling her dorsal and tail fins and to remove the ropes from her mouth and baleen. (Being near her mouth involved working right in front of her fist-sized eye.) She watched and stayed calm. She knew. She understood.

I can't say how she knew given the history of hunting the humpbacks to near extinction, but she did. Perhaps it was the way the divers approached her. They entered her realm with kindness and compassion - wishing only to help. Maybe she sensed their meaning.

When free, she circled and approached each diver gently nudging them. Yes, she knew.

What if we approached life with kindness and compassion towards all beings? And what if we remembered to show sincere gratitude for who and/or what we've been given?

May every day be a day of Thanksgiving!

(This is a reprint from 2011. I thought of this article as I read about several friends who have posted their stories of what looked like certain tragedy. Given time and reflection, they realized how very grateful they were. How their life direction changed- ultimately for the better. Also, I want to give a shout out to everyone who has gone out of their way to help the Veteran's homeless camp. Deepest gratitude!)


  1. When I write in my journal, I include 3 gratitudes I have from the day before. It really makes my life happier. Thanks for the repost, Jen

  2. I love hearing this story--it always makes me glad!

  3. A wonderful story well worth repeating. Thank you. sz

  4. Thank you for reminding us of this heart lifting story. MAR

  5. Great story, I am touched.
    Thank you for sharing. I couldn't imagine that a whale could contact like this. YI

  6. Thank you Atencio, for bringing this out!