You know, many people think I am crazy because of some of my hobbies. I mean, I have some of the more socially acceptable hobbies, but those sometimes get overlooked when people learn that I have an eccentric side… like going into caves on purpose. People find it odd when I talk about Cave Rescue as if it were something to strive to attain certification in. They think it’s weird that I have done repelling, and even a few people think it is weird that I love rock climbing, though this is a bit more socially acceptable. Not just the upper limits type rock climbing, either (though that is awesome!), but actually rock climbing.
But the truth is, I don’t care that people think it is weird. I’ve grown accustomed to people thinking I’m a bit eccentric when it comes to my “extreme” sports. I embrace being different. I like my hobbies. What makes my hobbies even better is the fact that Daddy and the boys (yes, I know that my two older brothers are now 16 and 18, but they are still my boys) love similar hobbies. Which means, as a family, we get to explore many of these things together and work as a team. Because the reality is, these are not sports you should venture on alone.
But as much as people find my hobbies unusual and don’t understand why I love getting dirty in the process (let’s be honest, getting dirty is part of the fun), the truth of the matter is, they are missing out. Why? Because I get to see aspects of God’s creation few Christians ever see. That’s part of the allure of doing the things I do. I get to climb to heights that allow me to look over breathtaking landscape in its fullness. I get to climb into the bowels of the earth and view beautiful formations that the touch of a hand could destroy.
So perhaps it will come as no shock, to those that actually know me, that I have now ventured to another area of God’s creation little seen by humans. My newest hobby is Scuba Diving. That’s right, diving deep depths and visiting the world beneath the waves. I am now a bottom crawler, as we divers are called.
Over the past month I have been studying the very thick Open Water Diver Manual in preparation for my examination last weekend, which consisted of three days of review, quizzes, tests, dive drills in the pool, a wreck dive, and three reef dives. If you had the ability to ask those closest to me, you would know I was incredibly nervous about my quizzes and tests. I hate them in general, but not passing would be devastating! However, I am happy to report that I passed top of the class (along with my brothers), and did my Advanced Open Water Certified Daddy very proud, not only because we all passed, but because we passed with very high praise from our instructors.
What does my certification mean? It means I can now dive up to a depth of 100ft anywhere in the world, with the exception of altitude diving (special certification needed).
So, I decided that my experience was something I wanted to share with you all, in depth, especially since I’ve received lots of e-mails and pms asking about it (from those who knew I was studying for my examination).First off, I am obviously safe and sound. I didn’t drowned and I wasn’t eaten by sharks. Although, I did see two sharks. One was a nurse shark, which are puppy dogs, and another was a type that none of us were able to identify. He was a larger variety of shark, and surface swims (some sharks won’t go to the surface, like nurse sharks). We know he surface swims because one of the snorkelers up top was being trailed by him.
In addition to the sharks, we also saw stingrays on our wreck dive, a sea turtle (wow, they are so pretty and majestic!), a flounder (they look even more weird in real life then they do in pictures), a barracuda, two eels (one moray eels out of his hole, which is very unusual—they are huge when you see their whole body!! I had no idea—and also an unusual cream colored one with a purple frill and purple spots, he was really very pretty), a lobster (which we caught and gave one of our instructors a blood blister), and a ton of beautiful varieties of fish.But you know what was perhaps one of the most beautiful things about the experience? I felt so close to the Lord. I got to see how God has revealed His splendor in the vast diversity, beauty, and majesty of His ocean realm. I was overwhelmed an awed. I felt humbled.
See, when I went into the underwater world as a scuba diver, I got to partake in an intimate exploration of God's creation. Physically I had to humble myself by putting on life-sustaining equipment. I was reduced to hand signals for communication (we have a lot, but not having words to be able to express to those undergoing the experience with me what I was thinking was unusual for me). I had to calculate every breath and calculate precisely how long I could be underwater.
Underwater, I quickly realized how magnificent my God is, and how small I am as I attempted to grasp all the life and activity around me. I had to give up my desire to control the natural world once I realized I was an observer, a feeble visitor in this underwater realm.
The natural world (creation) is a wonderful testimony for the existence of God. Getting to see the depths of the sea simply confirmed for me once more that my God is amazing. He’s made all things unique. He creates wonders just for the joy of it. In fact, there are many wonders we will never see, as in space, and yet God still created them for His glory.
As I beheld firsthand the splendors of God's aquatic creation, I had to give Him glory and praise.
O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions, this great and wide sea, In which are innumerable teeming things, living things both small and great. Psalm 104:24-25For the sea is His, and He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Psalm 95:5
So, if asked to sum my experience up in a few simple words, I must borrow from my friend Roager (who likes to claim he is a man of much fewer words than he actually is). “It was awesome!”
Hope you enjoy. I certainly did.