Living a couple hours drive away from the Atlantic Ocean, I often take day trips to visit the coast. I love the beach in every ounce of it’s being, it’s where my soul is at home. I journey there to meet with God, to feel His sweet embrace and abiding presence. Each trip for the past few years, I’ve witnessed dolphins playing nearby shore. It’s no coincidence; it’s God’s love language to me. Just days after I wrote “Dancing with Dolphins”, I took a day trip to the beach; there God sent a pod of 6 dolphins to entertain my little heart. As I watched one jump and another’s face peak out from the foamy waves, I felt my Father God’s hand on my shoulder and His kind voice say, “I’m so glad you like them.”
“Dancing with Dolphins” is about finding God’s embrace in the uncomfortable spaces, in the wild and thick of your story. It’s a sonnet about pressing forward, even as elements present advance beyond your capabilities. It’s a poem about discovering peace, when there is none.
Dancing with Dolphins
Some say salt water and tears will heal our wounds,
but I’d say, it takes a divine hand to hold us through, too.
I’ll watch the waters, all day.
Waves of the ocean push back and forth,
their rhythm is soothing to me, a mimic of life.
I could step into the waves become a buoy?
Rather, I’d resist the pull and push of tides, by trying to hold my ground, to find it.
Yet, sand beneath me fades.
I begin the sink.
Eventually my soles feel shell and rock,
not the tender sand that once appeared to be reliable footing.
The waves hurried each speck away,
proving sinking sand is not solid ground.
Minutes ago, I was knee deep, now oceans rise to my waist.
As I step backwards towards shore,
I’m caught in the current,
tugging me to embrace the waves, move forward.
It’s dangerous, to go deep, nothing is assured.
My eyes are blinded by sea salt’s sting,
it’s briny blend lurches to pockets in my mouth,
my limbs drift deeper.
I want the safety of the shore, a raft or somebody, something, ‘cause
this environment feels treacherous.
If I embrace the tide, will the salt waters preserve me or will I drown?
My mind shifts.
There was once a time I kayaked beyond the breakers,
my yellow skiff nimble and sturdy,
spelling adventure and danger.
Me, the Atlantic and a tiny plastic vessel,
100 yards plus separated us and the shore.
Risk beyond risk, all to feel, see and taste beauty.
I felt raw and exposed, just us and the sea.
It’s wild past the breakers, but it’s so glorious.
The tides had ushered my tiny boat, now we float, here.
To my right 10 feet, a dolphin crests its dorsal fin,
blowing air through its blowhole,
gusting salt mist on my face.
Surprised and terrified,
my heart holds still. I am in awe.
The most brilliant spectacle I’ve ever seen.
My husband to my left, grinning ear to ear.
Within seconds, the dolphin peaks again,
4 feet distance from my vessel.
I am speechless, what a sweet gift.
This braving deeper waters.
My soul breaks out with words of praise.
“Here in the deep,
I’ve found my wild and beautiful God.
He sails with me here.
He embraces me,
restores my ardor.
And I walk on water with Him.
He gifts me with splendor.
For now my eyes have seen, my ears have heard and my heart knows.
I’m found in the deep.”
For, it takes a divine hand to hold us through, to scale deep deep waters.
Anna Smith is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Restore One, where she works diligently on their chief project, The Anchor House. The Anchor House will be the first shelter in the nation designed to meet the needs of sex trafficked and sexually exploited American boys. Anna has a resilient passion to see sex trafficking victims experience true healing and restoration. In her spare time, Anna enjoys biking with her husband Chris, reading, cooking, throwing pottery, running and yoga. Learn more about Restore One here.
“It’s dangerous, to go deep, nothing is assured”. As I was reading your posting I was thinking of the verse “Where deep calls onto deep” and how God woos out into deeper waters in life to learn to trust Him more. You’ve written about that so eloquently. Please continue to write and share!
Thank you Barbara. 🙂
Anna, your poem brought tears to my eyes. I lived on the beach growing up, and I raced with my swim fins to get out to the dolphins before they passed by. Very rarely did I make it. I miss it so; it is where I met God; where He embraced me – my wild and beautiful God. You touched my soul today, when I really needed it. You are a blessing. Thank you!
Ruth your testimony is a blessing to me. Grace and Peace to you sister.