Friday, September 20, 2013

My Summer Vacation

This summer, we went back to the Gulf Coast of Florida for our vacation, and I discovered snorkeling.  The Gulf of Mexico was exceptionally clear this year.  Something I am profoundly grateful for after the BP oil spill.  Stepping into that warm, clear water felt like standing in liquid forgiveness, the limits of which I hope we never test again. 

So I went to the tacky t-shirt shack, a fixture at all beach communities, and I bought a mask and a snorkel that sealed itself if I went completely under water.   What a world they opened to me.     

Suddenly, our little beach was like swimming in an aquarium.  I felt like the plastic diver  in the aquarium we used to have in our living room, forever about to discover the treasure chest with the lid that kept opening in a stream of bubbles.

As soon as I put my face in the water, connected to my world through the plastic tube by my ear, I found myself in the middle of a school of bait fish.  Shiners the locals called them.  They were about an inch long with green backs, blue eyes and sides made of a thousand tiny mirrors.  They swam straight at me like snow flakes when you’re driving at night through a snow storm.

Below them, I could see the larger fish, Jack and Redfish, darting up from the bottom, feeding on the stragglers.  The sunlight,  a spidery web of light underwater, created endless patterns, brilliant flashes as the fleeing shiners turned to avoid me.  A garbled cry of amazement and joy caught in my throat.  What beauty lay just below the surface!

I realized that water is just another kind of atmosphere, and as I swam connected to the world above by the thin pipe whooshing full of my own breath by my ear, I felt like I was flying, held by the water, my shadow gliding across the rippled sand bottom 12 feet below me.  Startling the small fish for whom every shadow means danger.

After awhile some would swim along just below me, using me for shelter from the birds above and the larger fish below.  What grace to pass through this new world extending shelter to these temporary little traveling companions.

How many worlds exist like this, just below the surface of my life?   I get the uncomfortable feeling that there are undiscovered worlds like this at my finger-tips all the time, and that God is so much grander, so much more present around me than I ever imagined.

We often make redemption and salvation a personal matter.  Turn Jesus into our personal savior, like the personal flotation device my seat cushion can supposedly be turned into if the plane we arrived here on were to go down over water.  Some things you just have to take on faith I guess, because I’d surely drown trying to figure out how to do that.  It takes me a couple of trys to locate the correct buckle for my seat belt.

Swimming in the blizzard of these shiners extending my accidental grace and protection, gives me a sense of the grandness of creation.  Can God's redemption and salvation be any less grand?

1 comment:

Elaine Sedan said...

Totally get it! I remember the first and only time snorkeling in the Bahamas years ago while on a class trip with Jessy for band! Amazing grace! Have to do that again some time.