Dolphins, Surfers, & the Maker of Both

Dolphins, Surfers, & the Maker of Both

posted in Blog, Creation, Poetry & Writing, Surfing/Wave Riding, Travel | Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Grabbed my camera and my Bible this morning and went for a walk on the beach. The cool breeze and the lack of humidity was a welcome change from the sweltering heat back home in Atlanta. Having grown up along the South Florida coast, I love the beach and I miss it all the time. This, however, is the first chance I’ve had to spend any time on the California coast and now I think I love the ocean even more. We’ve been here for almost a week, in Manhattan Beach, staying at a place just a few short blocks up from the ocean because of the love and generosity of my mother-in-law. Some people make cracks on their in-laws. Not me. I was blessed to be raised by parents who loved me and I’ve been blessed by marrying Nancy, who was raised by parents who loved her. The siblings and siblings-in-law are all here, along with Mom and the nephews, to enjoy some time together in this beautiful part of the planet. Tonight we’ll celebrate Mom’s birthday, a little early, and we’re thankful for the gift she is to us.

Earlier in the week I saw a couple seals. One popped his head up near a surfer, as if too check out what was going on. The other leapt through the air, completely airborne, like a dolphin. And we saw dolphins. I love dolphins. I grew up watching Flipper on TV and have fantasized about swimming with dolphins ever since. I saw some more dolphins this morning and couldn’t help but wish again for the opportunity to see them close up in the water.

The surf at the pier was fun to watch, though I wanted to be in the water. Or more accurately, I wanted to be in the water with a wetsuit. I spent a good while shooting photos of surfers and scanning the horizon for approaching sets of southwest swells.

There was a bench on the pier near the spot where I was shooting so I sat for a while and pulled the Bible out of my cargo shorts pocket. I read from the Psalms – one of my favorites actually – Psalm 93. I had my NASB translation (which I love) with me but I actually prefer this Psalm from the NIV (which was how I first learned it). Part of that short Psalm is as follows:

      The seas have lifted up, O LORD,
      the seas have lifted up their voice;
      the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.

      Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
      mightier than the breakers of the sea –
      the LORD on high is mighty.

So much to take in. So much to appreciate. So much to ponder and be thankful for. But I can only breathe in so much and then I have to breathe out. I pulled out a pen, found a scrap of paper, and wrote a short response.

      Maker of the dolphins and the seals
      Who play in the breakers of the sea
      Swell lines like your fingerprints revealed
      Your glory leaves leaves its fingerprint on me

      Moving mountains race toward the sand
      Surfers dance upon the liquid peaks
      Creator of the water and the man
      The artist through the artwork surely speaks

Later this afternoon, my brother-in-law, Andy, his oldest son, Logan, and I were out in the water together when some dolphins were spotted down the beach, heading our way. Andy and I had been boogie boarding and Logan was bodysurfing. The dolphins, a school of about ten, came right at us and then dove in front of us. One swam right below me, next to my feet. I looked down to watch his (or her) massive, eight foot long body cruise by. Three dorsal fins, side by side, came out of the water next to Andy. Logan saw a baby in the group, maybe four foot long, but I never got a glimpse of that one. The dolphins swam around us, then swam ahead a little, and circled back to come near us again. I had for a long time (since seeing dolphins close up at SeaWorld and noting how large they can get) been curious about whether or not I’d in fact be terrified if this actually happened. I wasn’t. I was ecstatic! I was thanking God and laughing my head off!

I think God set me up this week. I believe he set me up for something that he KNEW I was going to enjoy. And he was absolutely right! He’s a good Dad. He’s a really good Dad!

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