Today I woke up thinking about the ocean. Well, I actually went to bed thinking about it too. No, not because I get to go to the ocean this summer…although…I could just sit here and day-dream about that for a while. My feet are cold right now and some warm sand sure sounds like a great way to warm up. I was actually thinking about it in more of a life journey…spiritual sense. I was thinking of it because as I sit here contemplating where God has me in this life, where I have been and where He is leading me, I realize that I am neck-deep in the middle of the ocean with a need to stick my head in and start swimming. Remaining in one spot bobbing up and down isn’t getting me anywhere. In fact, it is really just good for being tossed around by the waves.
When I shared that image with my fella this morning he reminded me that we have been in this place in a much more literal sense. We got married over 16 years ago and honeymooned in Kauai. My best friend’s uncle owned a bed and breakfast and lived near the property. He had grown up near the Ocean and loved to spend time in it. One day he offered to take us out snorkeling on Poipu beach….the second most dangerous beach in the Hawaiian Islands…he left that little bit of information out. So these swimming pool babies headed out into the water with our snorkels, our goggles, our flippers and our trusty guide, Oli. I don’t know how long we had been out there when we realized we were not exactly where we thought we were. We were no longer near our guide. We were no longer near the shore. In fact…we couldn’t even see each other. I knew that I was tired and fighting a current that I couldn’t control. Justin had discovered that the rock he had been watching on the bottom of the ocean floor was getting farther away from him and it wasn’t the one moving. He had grown so tired of fighting the current that he…in his swimming pool wisdom…decided the flippers were hindering him and took them off. We had both just about given up when Oli found us. He grabbed my arm first and pointed me in the right direction. We swam over and found Justin who was close to giving up the fight and were able to get out of the current…yes Justin put his flippers back on. It helps to have an ocean baby navigating the way when you are a swimming pool baby who has never been in water with bigger waves that the ones caused by the cannon ball diver. It helps to know how to swim out of the current that threatens to take you away from where you were intended to go.
Who knew an event that took place in our lives almost 16 years ago would one day have so many parallels to the spiritual journey we find ourselves in today.
That was a beautiful beach. The ocean was a fun place to play. We were having fun. We did not know the risks. We were not prepared for the dangers. It could have been a disaster. We could have lost our lives that day. Others swam in the same waters without a problem…they knew the rules! Others knew the dangers and how to navigate them. We had a guide who knew the rules but we lost sight of him. We knew how to swim in calmer…safer waters. It was possible to swim in those waters if you knew how. When the time came to SWIM…we had to keep swimming. We could no longer be tossed by the waves or remain in the current. We had to put on our flippers and take hold of the guide and swim…not back to shore…parallel to the shore. See the problem wasn’t being in the ocean…it was being in the current that we weren’t meant to be in. The problem was not swimming and just allowing the ocean to toss us around and move us at will.
I want to be in the ocean. The swimming pool is fun for lounging but the ocean is vast and adventurous. The pool is fine for floating and treading water but if you do that in the ocean you may get caught up in a current that takes you away from where you were meant to be. I have a GUIDE that knows the dangers. He knows how to navigate them. I am safe in the Ocean with HIM by my side. It’s time to stop bobbing around being tossed about by the waves and moved long by the current. It’s time to take HIS hand and swim!!