Lessons From a Jellyfish
First, the Story
My toes squished in the sandy mud as I slid the kayak in. The water was warm. Warm enough for me to notice anyway. That should have been my first clue. Back in Virginia, whenever the water turned lukewarm they would always show up. I remember taking my oldest out when he was only 2 or 3 and his first encounter was a painful one as the iridescent tentacle brushed by his little legs. I was out on my own this time and this was my favorite time of the week. A mental break from the constant noise in my head. That day I was particularly moody and hubby had a sense as soon as he walked through the door. He quickly packed the kayak in the truck and sent me on my way to meditate.
I paddled out for about 15 minutes with no place in mind. Away from the boats and the traffic of the San Diego Bay. Some days I like to just float and let my thoughts drift. I sat there in my little orange kayak. This time I tried to close my eyes, letting my body absorb the motion of the waves. I was like a toddler taking in the world. Noticing anything…everything. A plane flying high overhead…the echo of a train horn blowing in the distance. A car whizzing on the highway. I let my mind drift still as I focused in on the waves. I started to notice the patterns emerging, like a spider web on the surface or rifts of sand on the dunes. The sun was casting a short shadow making the smaller rifts look like they fingered out from the larger waves. I sat there, quiet and still for some time. Enjoying the nothingness and the peaceful rocking just staring at the quilted surface.
Something had caught my eye and my focus diverted through the water now. I strained to see past the reflective sunset and squinted my eyes to get a better look. Still it was coming closer. It emerged from the darkness right up alongside me. If I had draped my hand down into the water it would have rubbed right up against me. Like a kitten eager for me to pet it, purring all the same. I let out a squeal like a delighted 1 year old. Its white spots and head-sized transparent, bronzed body pulsed through the water, tentacles trailing behind. It came and went quickly and gracefully and I sat there, delighted in His creation.
The Teaching Jellyfish
Slowly I have gotten better at listening to the subtle clues of God’s whisper. Too often I feel like my sights only focus on getting from point A to point B. I get impatient in limbo just waiting for something to happen. As military spouses we are notorious for this. Always waiting. Waiting for shipments, for orders, for housing, for husbands to get home, or for husbands to leave. I later learned that these beautiful jellies came all the way from Australia. What an amazing journey for me to delight in them.
Their presence on that day reminded me that what you do while you wait is important. That’s when the magic happens. God knows me. He knows I need a visual application of his teachings. So he sent me jellyfish. And that day the jellyfish were my teacher. Waiting is important. The journey between those two points matters. The in-between is where the details of life show themselves. It’s where we delight. Where we live for. When I finally quieted my mind and stopped asking for answers to life’s important questions, God showed me how beautiful the details are. To delight in his creation. To be okay with waiting and to receive joy in that space.
I sat there alone in my boat still smiling when the next one showed up. This one was smaller. The size of a Dixie cup maybe but no less beautiful. One after another they came in all sizes. Probably fifty or so in all by the time I set back for shore. The orange ones went by and then the white ones came. Like ghosts in the water and I felt his overwhelming love for me as I marveled there in wonder. I know that feeling. To watch your own children delight in something you made happen. What an amazing feeling to be a child again, delighting in His wonders.