I love how God reveals Himself to me through nature. I have often said there is no separation of the sacred and the secular. Everything is sacred, and that includes snorkeling. In fact, snorkeling is one of the most religious experiences I have ever had.
It has taken some practice. My family can tell you stories of my first snorkeling experience in Captain Cook, Hawaii. It wasn’t pretty. I had never been swimming in the ocean with fins, mask and snorkel. My snorkel had a valve that malfunctioned. I could not breathe, which led to some panic and maybe some yelling. I made my way to the lava rock wall, pushed myself up, and promptly sat upon spiny sea urchins. Then some youngish SCUBA divers popped up and asked me to get out of their way! Like I said, it wasn’t pretty.
Over the years, I have learned how to swim with fins, regulate my breathing through the snorkel and clear the fog in my mask. How can all of this be sacred?
Adorning my gear, I submerge my head in the cool water and am called into worship as I observe God’s incredible creation. The outside world, the noise, the disease, the chaos is suddenly muted. My focus is on breathing in, breathing out and searching for the treasures under the surface of the deep blue. I have to admit, I may squeal like a little girl when I see a school of brightly colored tropical fish flitting in and out of the coral reef. I try to shout to my husband “LOOK, LOOK,” wanting him to experience the same joy I am.
Speaking of my husband. He is a former search and rescue, motor lifeboat driver in the Coast Guard. He approaches snorkeling in a search pattern in order to most efficiently cover the area. He likes to kick hard and go down as deep as he can. The fish, however, are a bit more random in their swimming patterns. I like to follow the fish.
The bad thing about following the fish is that they can swim to places that will most definitely be dangerous to me. Also, it is never good to snorkel or swim off by yourself. Occasionally, (okay, way too often) I obsess with following a particular fish or see something that draws my attention and have found myself swimming out to sea where the water is choppy, and the waves are big. For safety, I have to choose to stay in close proximity to my husband.
During one of our recent sacred snorkeling adventures, this parallel occurred to me. I want my husband to lead us on this voyage. I trust he is a stronger swimmer and has my safety in mind. It takes us a while to get into sync, me trusting, he leading. Sometimes I try to keep up with him only to get kicked in the head or whacked with a flipper. It is probably better to swim next to one another. He wants to see all that the ocean has to offer as much as I do. Sometimes he ventures down where the eels live or further than I am comfortable with. But he feels responsible for me and desires my safety more than he desires the underwater quest.
I have to admit, I try to follow or stay in sync, but sometimes it is hard. I am a leader by nature, gifting and training. It is said “to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower.” In and of myself, I could never be a “submissive wife.” Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can I be who God created me to be, participating in sync with and along side my husband.
Husbands need to follow God in order to appropriately lead their families. They cannot be distracted by shiny objects or schools of fish swimming out into the unknown… Unless that is where God is leading. Husbands, if you are leading according to God’s Word (gentle, above reproach, etc) your wife will respect you and want to swim beside you, navigating the waters of life.
Wives, we need to desire for our husbands to be good leaders. We cannot make them be good leaders but need to give them the support and freedom to be what God created them to be. That does not mean that we blindly follow. It does not mean we don’t get to experience life in its abundance.
Husbands, follow God, not every cool thing that crosses your path. Lead in a way that makes your wife want to swim along side you. And for goodness sake, don’t kick her in the head when she is trying her best to be a good follower.