Editor’s note: This column by the late Bev Davis originally was published April 8, 2006.
Just about everyone we know has a tangled web of something in their lives. It may be a family relationship, friendship, church ties or a crisis of faith.
The problem is, we don’t see the ropes that bind others to whatever it is that stifles their creativity, shuts off their forgiveness valve or silences their efforts to communicate well.
We see the thrashing and confusion and behaviors we find annoying, if not just plain unacceptable.
This story that appeared in the Dec. 14, 2005, issue of the San Francisco Chronicle illustrates my point.
A female humpback whale had become entangled in a debilitating web of crab traps and lines. She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.
She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso and a line clamping her mouth shut.
A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallon Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help.
Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined the whale’s condition was so perilous the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her — a very dangerous proposition. One slap of her gigantic tail could kill a rescuer.
Tediously, the team worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. Not once did the whale show any aggression.
The divers said immediately after she was freed, the gigantic whale began to swim in what seemed like joyous circles.
Then, she came back to each and every diver, one at a time, and nudged them, pushed them gently around — her way of saying thanks. Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.
The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the whole time, and he will never be the same.
May we all be so blessed to be surrounded by people who will look beyond our character flaws, see the tangled webs around us and do whatever they can to help set us free.
At times, we need to do more than cut other people some slack. We all need to become rescuers who are willing to face the dangers of cutting their ropes.