When my brother-in-law was stationed in Hawaii with the navy, my husband and I had an affordable way to visit the islands. In a real, physical way, I learned on that trip that you don’t have to be a navy seal to know what to do in choppy waters.
I went snorkeling for the first time in Hanauma Bay. Once I got over the awkwardness of the snorkeling equipment, I was in awe of what was swimming all around me. The view of the exotic fish along with the undulations of the coral reef was intoxicating. I could not pull myself away from the beauty of this indescribable scene. I have no idea how long I was snorkeling, when giant waves seemed to appear out of nowhere. (If any islanders are reading this, they are probably laughing at that idea, but to a “haole,” it seemed true.)
I was in no position to deal with these waves. Less than a foot below me was the beautiful, but razor-sharp, coral reef. I thought to myself, “If only I could go deep…” Instead, I frantically swam against the waves, scraping myself to get to a clearer section of water and to the safety of the beach.
This situation came to mind recently when I was talking with a wise friend of mine. I was sharing that I had been struggling with many things in my life that all seem to be coming at me at once. (If a wise person is reading this, he/she is probably laughing at this idea, but to me, a fool with little faith, it seemed true. ) My wise friend shared this analogy:
Ask anyone who has served on a naval submarine when do the most sailors get seasick? They will tell you that it’s when the sub is at the surface and the water starts getting choppy. Thankfully, they are on a sub, and they can decide to “go deep.” They just head downwards into the deep sea where the water is calm.
He suggested to me that there are times in life when we are in choppy waters. It’s for these moments that we should develop a strong prayer life and already practice virtues like patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control. When we recognize choppy waters, we need to “go deep” and rely on these things. Down deep, the waters are smooth and calm and peaceful. When he told me this, I visualized a submarine blowing its horn from the old movies. Now, when the waters get choppy in my life, I hear that sound in my head and “go deep.” And boy what a difference it makes.