the storm petrel

The storm petrel is a small sea bird not often seen because it usually stays far out on the open ocean. I found this at dictionary.com:

Storm petrel is an alteration of earlier pitteral, probably so named in allusion to St. Peter's walking on the sea, from the fact that the bird flies close to the water [with its feet touching the surface] in order to feed on surface-swimming organisms; called storm petrel because in a storm the birds are active catching the small organisms which rise to the surface of the rough seas; when the storm ceases they are no longer seen.
The second definition given was "One who brings discord or strife, or appears at the onset of trouble."

I remember Kierkegaard referring to himself as a "stormy petrel." And I feel akin to that bird myself (Heather and I were wondering the other day what kind of birds we most resembled. She was a swallow.)

The connection with Peter on the water also reminded me of an incident during the weekend I was inquiring about joining the Dominicans (a Catholic religious order). I recorded it in my journal years later:
...Because of [the Dominican Order's] wealth and security, I felt they wouldn’t be a realistic option for me. Then during the final gathering of the weekend, the reading at Mass was about Peter coming to Jesus on the water. I felt that turning down the Dominicans [which I did at that time] was like stepping out of the boat: crossing the sea, but not by the usual means. It would be difficult, and I was afraid. But Jesus said, "O ye of little faith...." The words excited and scared and comforted me, all at once. I remember a tear falling to the floor at that moment. Of course, I did join the Dominicans a year later; I didn’t get pushed out of the boat until almost three years after that. When the whale coughed up a repentant Jonah. But I remembered that tear.
In the years that followed I often thought of my experiences on the road as a walking on the water, without the usual institutional support (governmental, religious, corporate, insurance, etc). Lots of big waves not to look at. But thrilling.

Then there's this prayer that I put together recently, after some long conversations with Heather. I detect a theme...