On the second day of our vacation, Tuesday 8/12/08, we went to Sea World. It started as a miserable experience. It was pouring rain. It rained so hard that we were sure it would be one of those gully washers that comes through quickly and moves on, but it rained for hours. We bought blue plastic ponchos, and they helped a little. I was struck by how those ugly ponchos were such an equalizer. You couldn't really notice racial, economic, or cultural differences in that sea of blue. There were just a few crazy, miserable families like ours who were determined to stay.
The beluga and dolphin show was canceled because the belugas had twin babies, but the arena was open for viewing. We stood for a couple of minutes and watched the white whales with their babies. I was carried back in time by the Enya song that was playing. It reminded me of being married to Byron because that's when I listened to Enya. And it reminded me of falling in love with Bill at the dolphin show at Shedd's Aquarium. It was a complicated mix of emotions, and the beauty of the whales coupled with the ethereal music made me want to cry. I felt sad for what might have been, thankful (and a little guilty?) for the joy in my current life, and just awed by the beauty of God's creation.
I loved the grace of these massive creatures, and the way the baby shadowed its mother. I was captivated by their obvious intelligence. One of them swam up to the glass where an apparent biologist sat with a clipboard. It studied her intently and then spit several arcs of water over the glass, lightly sprinkling her. It seemed to be smiling and enjoying its own joke. I wished I could walk up and touch the glass.
I felt so small, just a tiny piece of God's giant world, and I felt sad over what we have done to the oceans. I stood stock still, bathed in beautiful music and admiring God's handiwork. Tears pricked the corners of my eyes. Then Ethan started complaining that he was bored, and Bill agreed that we'd better get moving.
We stopped to feed the dolphins one more time on the way out. We quickly ran through our four stinky fish, but we stayed at the pool to watch them interacting with all the people. I talked to God mentally as I enjoyed the view. "I'd really like to touch one, Lord." Immediately, the closest dolphin swam up to us and surfaced in front of Bill and Allyson. Bill and Ethan touched it, but I hesitated a moment too long.
I excitedly told Bill and Ethan about my prayer. Ethan protested that the dolphins were swimming up to lots of people, but Bill pointed out that most of them had fish. Ethan said, "If you think it was your prayer, why don't you make it happen again?"
I told him that prayer isn't magic. But mentally, I continued my conversation with God. "I really would like another chance. I'd like to touch it this time." In just a moment, another dolphin swam purposefully to me and stopped right in front of me. I swear it looked me right in the eye.
"Well, hello," I said, and I reached out with a trembling hand to touch its chin, and then its fin as it swam away. It felt cool and smooth, and very firm.
For just an instant, I felt as if GOD were looking at me through that dolphin's eyes. I felt very loved and content. Once again, I shared my prayer. Ethan was still skeptical, and Bill was noncommittal. I said it didn't really matter; what happened was a gift no matter how you looked at it. But I choose to believe that God DID send those dolphins.