Whit’s End: The Hunt

This is “Ollie,” short for “Oliver.”  He was hunting with 2 other ospreys during high tide a few weeks ago.  See, when the tide is in schools of fish are more visible in the cleaner, more shallow water.  The trick for the osprey is to catch them before they begin to ride the surfs, which carry them back into deeper waters.  The other 2 osprey made their catches and headed back to nest fairly quickly.  But Ollie . . . well . . .

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…he had a rough go about.  He tried for about 30 minutes or more, plunging into the water, sometimes with grace and other times looking quick ridiculous.  Poor guy kept coming up empty.  It was probably unbecoming of such a mighty predator—diving into the water, submerging and subjecting himself to the mercy of the waves, only to come up empty handed.  It may have even been frustrating.

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You can see above how his poor head is barely out of the water, his eyes closed, and his thick feathers soaked, adding to the difficulty of a large bird attempting to free himself from the water’s grip.  But Ollie kept on.  Dive, after dive, after dive he never gave up.  Sure, he missed a lot.  But missing wasn’t a source of shame.  The point was to get food, to be fed, to be healthy.  For Ollie, life is simple.  It’s about living.

We don’t know how to “live.”  Sure, we’ve invented about a thousand ways to accessorize “living,” but I don’t think we know how to truly live.  If anything, we’ve accessorized living to the point that we’ve distracted living.  So what does it mean to live?  Living is about loving God and loving others.  That’s it.  “Well what about the rest of this ‘stuff’?”  Well, what about it?  I’m not saying you have to throw it all away.  But I will ask you if it distracts you.  Are there things that keep you from doing the simple things, the things that feed the soul and draw us closer to God?  What is in your way?  What keeps your soul from being fed?  It sounds like we might need to get back to living, to fish as Ollie does.

You’re going to “miss your catch” as you try and be a good disciple.  You’re going to look silly at times and it might take you longer than others.  But the point is for you to be healthy, to be right with God.  I’m jealous of those saints throughout time who’s entire existence boiled down to prayer and movement (they stayed in love with God and they went and shared God’s love with people).  These are the things that truly feed us.

Go get wet.  Try a thousand times.  Get your catch.  And feed those back at the nest.

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(Here’s Ollie with his catch, above, and below is him flying back to the nest across the inlet.)

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Rev. Whit R. Martin
Pastor, New Liberty United Methodist Church

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