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Grief may be the cost of commitment, the downside to love.
Tahlequah is a mother whose grief has been felt around the world, reminding everyone of their own bone-deep sadness related to loss.
Tucker and I have been following her tour of grief for days, sharing tears, and staring in awe at the mama's strength.

What I could not get past, at first, was the way the other whales actively helped, pushing the carcass to the surface, nudging the mama up there too, escorting her through the sea, literally and figuratively.
I know that life with death can feel lonely, that every aching heart deserves another open heart nearby, that grief shared is grief divided.

May we all be better escorts.

The saddest part of the story, though, may not be that Tahlequah carried her dead calf for 17 days, grief stricken, but that none of the females in her pod have had a successful pregnancy for 3 years, a problem most scientists link to starvation. The critically endangered population and unreliable salmon source is not new news, but this whale has drawn the kind of attention to the plight of orcas that no scientific paper, no task force, can garner.

Mothers are the leaders.

Weeks from now, when this event fades from the spotlight, I want to remember the feelings I have right now. Especially the ones I can't articulate tonight.


  1. Amy preached about anger today -- righteous anger -- the kind we need to feel sometimes. That's according to Paul in Ephesians, who goes on to say that we need to be tender-hearted as well. Amy talked about how the word "tender" can refer to the boats that escort other boats to safe harbor, and how we -- as tender-hearted people -- can be better escorts. May we all be better escorts indeed! Amen.

    P.S. After the sermon, our friend Anne, turned to say that she thinks you have been unbelievably tender-hearted when it comes to a certain neighbor!

  2. Jenni Baby,


    We love you guys so much,
    Poppy and Grandma Sandy