Some days it’s hard to be motivated. Anyone who is, essentially (or truly), self-employed can tell you that. Even if every aspect of everything you do is 100% your one and only passion, it is sometimes difficult to stay focused. Some days, I admit, I am less than thrilled with myself. I become riddled with the thought (if not outright convinced) that I’m not good enough, or my passion isn’t enough, or I’m doing the wrong thing, or… You get the idea.
The point is, I sometimes feel inadequate. I try to rid myself of that, and then I see this guy:
Yeah, that’s a guy leaping from a boat to stab a whale with a spear. On this planet, that’s a thing. That happens on normal days. That guy is amazing!
Now, I love whales. I love dolphins. I love cetaceans in general. They are my absolute favorite animals. Yes, I’m glad that whaling bans exist. I’m not for indiscriminate killing of whales. (Disclaimer done)
That man is part of the whaling town of Lamalera in Indonesia. The international whaling ban doesn’t apply to them. Partly because when a whale is killed every part (every part) of it is used for food or resources that sustain the entire town, and, partly, because whaling in Lamalera look like this:
and like this:
And not so much like this:
The point is, when I first saw that first picture and I discovered what it was, I felt intimidated. You have to remember that most of the whaling process in Lamalera is about waiting and hoping for just the right set of circumstances.
The hunting party waits on the shore for a whale to breach the surface or to send up a blowhole spray. They then get in their boats and paddle, yes paddle, out to where the saw the whale and hope to see it again. If they get close enough, one of the harpooners (that guy up there that puts John McClaine to shame) takes his bamboo spear and leaps into the water and, hopefully, spears the whale without getting the smackdown of a lifetime by the whale’s tail.
If he is successful, the whaling party then has to endure the whale going nuts by the aforementioned tail-thrashing (a move that can easily destroy boats) or diving deep into the water (in which case, the boat goes bye-bye as well). If the boat is destroyed, the members of the hunting party who have survived swim to another boat and climb in. Needless to say the whales don’t go down without a fight. There is one account of a whale destroying two of the boats and pulling a third as far away as Timor. (Here’s a rough map.)
Once the whale is successfully subdued, the other whalers jump in to the water (remember, they aren’t even near the shallows yet) and begin hacking at the whale with knives and machetes. That kind of bloodbath is exactly the kind of thing that the local sharks lust after.
Once the whale is killed, the hunters drag it back to shore singing a song of thanks and apology to ease the whale’s departing spirit.
I mean… COME ON! THAT is a hard days work! What are my petty struggles of writing books, editing audio, preparing sermons, etc. compared to that guys work day?
But then I remember something. A verse that has confronted me as much as it has comforted me over the years:
Aren’t two sparrows sold for only a penny? But your Father knows when any one of them falls to the ground. Even the hairs on your head are counted. So don’t be afraid! You are worth much more than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31
God knows my troubles. He knows my name. He has numbered the hairs on my head. I am important to Him, and that means, and this is really the point, every one of my petty struggles is important to Him.
That’s true for you as well.
So, when I consider that truth, suddenly that Lamaleran whaler becomes a source of inspiration for me. Yes, my troubles and struggles are real to me and to God. But because He cares for me, I don’t have to be afraid to face a problem that seems so much bigger than I am.
Like that Lamaleran whaler, I just have to grab my spear and jump.
[reminder]What is it that keeps you from jumping?[/reminder]