Whale watching is really such a beautiful metaphor for the spiritual life. I spent a good part of the weekend gently watching Walker Bay. As I walked along the cliff paths; as I sat having brunch; as I sat watching the sun go down. And I was rewarded frequently with a water spout, a bit of flipper action, a full tail, and just occasionally a breach or two.
What struck me this time was that the whale sightings were wonderful, but not essential to the deep joy of being there. Simply gently watching the ocean was the thing that was working its magic on my soul. I probably wouldn’t have been watching if the whales hadn’t been a possibility, but the sightings this time weren’t particularly spectacular. But this time even the odd water spout was enough to retain my attention. Because actually the thing that was proving balm to my soul was watching the ocean.
I used to need much more to keep my attention. I think I used to need more in prayer too. Now the possibility of encounter is enough to keep me showing up. Because the thing that really matters, the thing that is really shaping me is the showing up.