I Want to be Like A Whale

want

Why Would Anyone WANT to be Like a Whale?

I quit dying my hair ten years ago, around the same time I quit wearing face powder, mascara (unless it’s a really special event) and eye shadow. I don’t have anything against hair dying and makeup, I just got tired of spending money on those things.

My sweet husband assured me that he loved my grey hair (of course, it took him nine years to acquire a few grey hairs of his own), didn’t mind wrinkles and preferred seeing my raw freckles.

After spending an hour last night off the coast of California on a whale-watching tour, I’ve decided that I want to be like a whale. According to Dale, the naturalist on the tour, each whale has a unique pattern on the underside of its tail that not only identifies it like a fingerprint, but it tells a tale of all it’s been through during its life. Most whales have chunks missing (thanks to hungry orcas) and scars that tell stories of fights for survival and close encounters with bigger, more dangerous things.

The crowd on the boat ooohed and awwwed each time the whale came to the surface near our boat. No one said, “Look at his scars and ugly parts.” Oh, if only we could all accept others, scars and missing pieces and all. But that accepting has to being with me accepting me. So, like a whale, I don’t want to hide my lumps and hard knocks and not so pretty parts and episodes. I want authenticity.

When I looked at my photos, I noticed something else—part of the pattern on the whale’s tail came from barnacles.

Barnacles live on whales. It’s called commensalism—the barnacles benefit from hanging on the whales, but they do no harm (or benefit) to the whale.

I always thought that barnacles caused problems—but I learned something new. I know some commensal people. They hang around and change my landscape a little, but they really do no harm. I want to have more patience with them.

I want to have more patience with the barnacles in my life. #fmfparty Click To Tweet

God might not have created me with the whale’s majesty and grace in the ocean, but he created me for a purpose. It’s my job to find that purpose and embrace it—barnacles, bumps and scars and all—and go out and make a difference for others.

Who’s in with me? We’ll have a whale of a time!

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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