Can you call it a whale watch when you don’t see any whales? Technically, I guess you can because that is what we were doing- watching for whales to show up. But they didn’t, not that day. The seas were calm and the skies were clear. You couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to enjoy a boat ride. I didn’t even mind that the whales which the captain said had been in the area a day earlier, didn’t show up. We had fun and even got free tickets for another whale watch tour next time we were in the area.
I did start to get a bit nauseous when the boat sped up, causing it to rock a bit. I remembered a very successful whale watch several years earlier during a rain storm with rough seas. Everyone else stayed below in the cabin to stay out of the rain. But my husband and I wanted to see whales so we braved the wind and rain to stay on top with the captain and a naturalist who was leading the tour. We had a blast watching a group of whales as they flipped their tails at us. One even breached right alongside the ship! But the rough seas took a toll on everyone. Most of the other passengers were seasick and I have to admit that I had bouts of queasiness throughout the ride. It was the naturalist who gave me the best advice. She told me find a fixed spot on the horizon and focus. Within minutes the dizziness left me and my stomach calmed down. I used that technique again and again whenever I felt a bit of motion sickness creeping in.
We were on vacation last week and intentionally didn’t watch any news programming, but it was hard to tune the national and international news out. During the week we did the uneventful whale watch, hiked the nature trails and walked the beaches of southeastern Maine. We delighted in the unique environment of tidal flats and forests that grow right up to the rocky beaches. We enjoyed lobster rolls, lobster bisque and even mini lobster tacos. I got to hold a newly caught lobster – he was small and was thrown back in to live another day. We saw two sea birds that were new to us- a gannet and many Wilson’s Storm Petrels while sailing.
And yet, we couldn’t stay away from all that was happening this past week. News from Afghanistan has been heartbreaking. A major storm devastated many states causing 4 confirmed hurricanes in my home state of New Jersey and flooding large parts of the state. We were very lucky with only minor water in our basement which our son quickly took care of for us. There was even controversy over local BOE school board candidates that found its way into my daily newsfeed as much as I tried to ignore it. Every time I felt the news stories start to spin out of control, I searched for a spot on the horizon to recenter myself again and restore the vacation vibe I was struggling to keep going. I will tell you my secret- the horizon spot I was focusing on is Jesus. Focusing on the person of Christ is something that I wish would just come naturally to me but I always need a reminder. Focus on Me, He whispers to me daily and I thank Him for that nudge. Sometimes I hum that old hymn to myself:
“Fix your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
The world has been spinning out of control since that day in Eden when disobedient man rebelled against a loving God and we are still rebelling today. Yes,all of us, all the time.
The world is still spinning wildly and I am often dizzy and nauseous by what I see and hear but there is help on that horizon were Jesus waits for me to focus on Him. Then, suddenly, I realize that He is right here in my own heart and the grace and glory of His presence is enough to center me while the world still spins. Fix your eyes on Jesus and see the world grow dim.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.