I returned back to Canada Monday after a short but fantastic trip to Seattle, full of a great church service at Bethany North and even a date with my incredible wife. The floatplane ride back to Malcolm Island served to both inspire for its beauty of the Inside Passage and also jolt me back to the task at hand of running Sund’s Lodge until we close on Labor Day weekend. The work we do up here (www.sundslodge.com) is rewarding in that you are serving people from around the world and taking them into the absolute incredible beauty of the Inside Passage waters. Literally minutes from our dock there are four species of whales (Orca, Humpback, Gray, Minke) as well as eagles, sea lions, seals, dolphins, bears and more. And the fishing is incredible. Having a big salmon on your line as the sun is coming up and the beauty of God’s creation is all around is hard to describe in its absolute magnitude.
And yet, it is hard work we do up here. We set up the fishing lodge in late May to host guests beginning in June and ending in September. The staff of 14 come up from around western Canada at the beginning of the summer and work every day until Labor Day weekend. Every single day…for 15 or 16 hours a day. If you’ve never worked and lived with the same people before for 100 days, you don’t know the challenges and joys that close community bring.
As I arrived back on the dock Monday with the floatplane, I was keenly aware of the amount of work to do. I sat in my office and other than a short stint to a nearby town for a business meeting, worked in my office for 11 hours until shortly before 11pm. At the season’s end there is much work to do regarding payroll and bills, finances and numbers- not my favorite cup of tea. I sat in my office, nose buried in my work, feeling far away from the loved ones I had just departed. Feeling far away from the joy and significance of leading and preaching Sunday morning at Bethany North. Feeling far away from God’s presence.
I headed out of the office from the main lodge and trudged, like a zombie, up the hill towards the cabin where I live in the summer. And then, from behind me on the still waters, came the voice of nature. PPPBBUUHH. PPPBBUUHH. The unmistakable blast of breath of a killer whale was somewhere down in the dark off the end of the dock. The moon was illuminating a patch of the ocean but most of it was pitch dark and this whale was a few hundred meters away from the dock and travelling quick. PPBBHUHHH. PPBBHUUHH. More and more whales arose in the night water breathing and travelling on the surface. Because it was almost midnight now, there were no boats. No sounds of the Lodge or people working. No sounds of the nearby town or First Nations village. Nothing but the whales. There arrival had been unexpected and surprising and their timing was impeccable. Without the distractions of the day, I could sit back and take in their silent majesty. It was perfect.
After some time of witnessing God’s subtle reminder of His ever presence in the most unlikely of times and places, I headed to bed thankful for a small glimpse into a very big world. The God of the universe, who loves you and me, is always at work and always moving. Like whales showing up in the middle of a still night, God’s presence is always stirring under the water of our present worries and realities. We can often miss it, stuck in the busyness and tasks of our day, and yet that doesn’t mean God isn’t working, isn’t present, isn’t here with us. Monday night was my reminder of this. Under the waters, God is always stirring.