Monday, August 29, 2005

Girls Scouts Join the Chorus of Mediocrity

Megan Cox Gurdon of NRO nailed this.

Its Scary Out There at the Edge of the Reef

Pictured at right is my youngest daughter Heather, who, as you can easily see, is an accomplished snorkeling aficionado. As the Hawaiians would say, "Moko ini ale'a huna oli' na na snorkelini", which roughly translated means, "dat' white girl inna polka dot top is gonna drown sure, bro....". Or something like that. At least that what it sounds like right after one of these.

Anyway, last week we spent one of the most idyllic days of my life, and wouldn't you know it, God was right there with us. Right there, on the beach, in the water, all around us. We traveled to the north shore (windward side) of Kauai to Tunnels Beach , pictured below. I could not believe that we had the priviledge of spending even part of a day here. I am fairly confident that when I hit the shores of Paradise, the view will be very similar to this.

Our task this day was snorkeling, as we had heard that Tunnels was one of the best snorkeling spots in the islands. After we ventured into the shallows of the reefs and out to deeper waters, we soon found out that all the advice of both friends and tour books was right on. The underwater world we found was amazing, as you can see below; I am amazed at the infinite creativity of God in fashioning the world around us. The reef at Tunnels is a big one, and extends some 500 yards offshore. This is also a famous winter surfing spot, with some big waves, and also carries some infamy with it, as the spot where Bethany Hamilton was attacked by a shark and lost her arm. Bethany is one of Heather's biggest heros, and Heather has read her book at least two times through during the past year.

As we headed out, I noticed that Heather was more hesitant that her usual self. She wanted me close at hand as we swam through the reef, slowly making our way out to edge of the reef. After about 100 yards, there is a significant drop-off of the reef, from a depth of 10-15 feet to about 30-40 feet. When you head down at this point you can really feel the cold water at the reef thermocline.

If you are 11 years old, sleep in a warm bed in the suburbs of Southern California every night, and have read about girls age being attacked by sharks on just about this very spot, your mind gets to working overtime. Short version - its scary. So we held hands or swam real close together, and explored around for almost two hours, maybe longer. We saw lots of cool fish we had never seen before; big fish, little fish, amazing colors!

Now, as the thick-headed (and only) male in my family, this whole experience took me a while to sort out. Make that a couple of days. The metaphor that occurred to me is that this life we have been granted sometimes feels much like an 11-year old facing a big league reef for the first time. We are unsure, tentative, and often downright scared. That shallow water seems so much safer, maybe we will just stay in close to shore. Out there at the edge of the reef is where the Wild Things happen. But there are amazing things to do and see out there, its worth the journey out. If we are gonna head out there, better to have someone close at hand, Someone who gives us a sense of security.

It is good to know, we are definitely not alone. I have also found it interesting how two of my favorite people have been thinking the same thoughts along parallel lines, here and here.
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