Saturday, March 17, 2007

Safe Harbor

Last night, on the National Geographic Channel, I watched a pod of Orcas attack a Gray Whale and her calf in Monterey Bay. I felt such sadness as the mother whale, already emaciated and fatigued after a 7,000 mile migration from north of Alaska, struggled valiantly to save her baby from the Orcas who attacked in coordinated fashion like a pack of wolves, ramming the calf and the mother with terrible force and tearing at the terrified calf's tender parts with their saw-like teeth until the surrounding water turned red with blood. The Orcas split into groups of two and tag teamed the hapless mother and her baby, keeping them under continuous assault for almost five hours by one group while the other group rested before taking over. The mother could have escaped by herself, but she refused to abandon her calf, and it appeared that neither had a chance to survive the cunning Orcas' relentless attacks. As sad and horrified as I was by the awful spectacle unfolding before me, I could not turn my eyes away or the TV to another channel. I HAD to see this terrible thing through to its conclusion as my mind brooded.

Why do we feel compelled to watch destruction and death?
Why is the world so filled with suffering and bloody death?
How could a God of perfect goodness be responsible for such a world?
How I hate this world and the God who allegedly made it!

The mother's incredible battle to save her baby brought tears to my eyes. The maternal instinct in whales and humans seems almost miraculous. But is it not programmed into mammalian genes, brains, and minds over countless millions of years? Would not any creature, male or female, act the same way under the control of the same programming?

For most of the documentary, I felt utter sadness and despair, not only for the whales but for this fallen world where such savagery, fear, desperation, and pain seem to be the norm rather than the exception. But in the end, I was filled with joy and hope. The mother and her calf survived. They somehow managed to make it to shallower water where the Orcas would not follow.

Where is your safe harbor and mine when life attacks and threatens to destroy us?