Today I took my cousins Valerie and Cannon to Makua Beach, one of my favorite spots on the island. It’s a beach on West Oahu where dolphins frolic in the bay during the morning light. It’s flanked by fabulous crater-shaped mountains away from civilization. It feels other-worldly. As I walk down the path to the water, peace just envelopes me there.
Sometimes, like today, I can spot the dolphins from the road. “Look, dolphins!” I shouted and pointed to the water. We gathered our gear and headed down to the water.
Torrential rain pelted us and we sought shelter under nearby trees, with semi-effective results. We watched the dolphins play across the water unimpeded. As the rain subsided, we plotted our course. My cousin’s workload consumed his life for two weeks and his body demanded sleep. My other cousin felt tired for other reasons. So we decided to climb up on the rocks and watch the dolphins from there instead of jumping in to snorkel out to them.
Spinner dolphins are so fun to watch. They jump straight up out of the water and flop straight down, or spin around (hence spinner dolphin), or even do flips out of the water. But even when they’re just moving back and forth across the bay, they’re captivating and I could watch them for hours.
It seemed like we were the only ones aware of where the dolphins were. People in the water sat still on paddle boards or snorkeled on one side of the bay while the dolphins swam and spun on the other side.
Wanting to Swim with the Dolphins but Missing the Mark
Two Brigham Young University-Hawaii students we met earlier came in from snorkeling. I pointed to the dolphins. They eagerly looked where I pointed. I asked if they had ever swum with dolphins. “No!”
The dolphins slowly swam across the bay giving the girls plenty of time to reach them. I encouraged them to head back out if they felt they hadn’t already spent their strength.
They quickly entered the water again. Another friend joined them. And the three of them headed back out in the water.
My cousin and I watched the two women and one man swim vigorously towards the dolphins, impressed by their speed. But then, instead of looking up to track their trajectory, they kept their heads in the water and feet kicking, and veered way to the left! They totally missed the pathway of the dolphins as the dolphins leisurely swam in front of us to another section of the bay.
I stood at the edge of the rocks, willing them to look up out of the water, sending vibes across the sea for them to look back to me on the shore. I could point the way! I wanted to point the way for them! I wanted to them to have a wonderful experience!
As the dolphins joyfully swam by, the off-course friends totally missed their rendezvous. They finally looked up after veering forever off course. The dolphins were so far away from them, the college kids would need to swim further to reach them than they’d swam initially.
The guy rested for a few minutes, then made the swim to the dolphins. He kept his head above water with his eyes fixed on the prize. He reached the dolphins.
The gals waited for the dolphins where they had stopped. That’s actually a good strategy. The dolphins swim back and forth across the bay.
But after waiting for a long while, they swam back in to shore—just as the dolphins began their trek back towards them. With heads down in the water, the girls made their way back.
I watched from the edge wanting to motion for them to wait and then go back, but the chance never came. As the girls reached the shore, the dolphin pods were spinning and flipping in the area the girls had been. They got out of the water and looked back out to the sea and saw the dolphins in their location. So sad.
My cousin Cannon got in the water to swim out to the dolphins as they made their way across the bay. He looked back to us a couple of times and we could point to the location. He got close enough to the dolphins to see a spectacular flip close up.
Look Up and Be Guided
My cousin Valerie and I mused about the lesson for us in those situations.
How often do I see the prize, a goal, a commandment, and just put my head in the water and swim with all my might to reach the goal? And…because I’m not fixed on the One who knows the way, though I’m exerting my best and valiant effort, I veer off course and miss the mark.
The Lord promised:
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.[F]or he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along.
And He does lead us along.
Nephi “was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [he] should do.”
Aaron “was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house of the king which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni.”
The Spirit led entire Nephite congregations. “And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.”
It would have been so easy for me to direct the girls the way they needed to go to reach their goal. I’ve done it before, I’m sure I’ll do it again. I love to help people get to where they want to be.
And I love those who help me get to where I want and need to be. I’m grateful for Jesus Christ who is a sure anchor and constant Guide whenever I choose to look up to the Rock to Him.
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.