Fear, Felonies, and Fullness of Joy

The day was meant to go well.
It’s my last Monday in my current paradise. I’m in the process of getting my scuba certification. It was overcast and I laid in the bed a few minutes longer than I should have to make it to the dive shop by 8am. And my heart has been a bit heavy lately. But the day was meant to go well.

I arrived at the dive shop late due to Honolulu’s typical morning traffic. I found out my dive partner was injured so I’d be diving with another partner. Sad…but determined. After all, the day was meant to go well. Despite the clouds and the slight chill in the air, the sea was smooth and water perfectly turquoise and clear as glass. I suited up for the first dive which would include a “giant stride” into the ocean. You basically put on all your gear-fins, tank, mask, er’thang-and take a huge step off the boat into the water. Now, the first time I had to do a “giant stride” it freaked me out. I’m not sure why but it did. I put on all my gear, stepped to the edge of the boat…and couldn’t move. Everything in me told me “nope, you’re not stepping off this boat”. Everyone I was diving with had already gone and I was holding up the party. But I just couldn’t move. My instructor talked to me and calmed me down and hesitantly, VERY hesitantly, I stepped off the boat and discovered it wasn’t as horrible as it had seemed a few seconds earlier.
So here we are again, standing on the edge of the boat. Already uncomfortable. Already unfocused. Information is swirling through my brain. And I can’t step off the boat. Again. More talking with my instructor. More calming words. And again, nervous, I step off the edge of the boat.
And then the next challenge.
I can’t catch my breath.
I’m so completely uncomfortable. WHY AM I SO UNCOMFORTABLE?!?! So completely disoriented. I’m so uneasy…But I gotta get through this. So finally, I catch my breath and start the descent toward the ocean floor.
A few large turtles, some pretty fish. It’s gorgeous down there. But the thing that I was so comfortable doing last week has turned into something I can’t wait to finish this week.
This day was meant to go well…
Finally, I return to the surface and get myself and my gear out of the water, dry off and wait as we head to the next dive site. I suit up again and this time the answer is flat-out “NO”. I’m not going in. I’m not comfortable. I’m not at ease. And i’m not going to dive into the ocean with anyone feeling the way i’m feeling. My heart, body, and mind are all saying no. And so does my mouth.
All my gear comes off and I sit and wait while others discover the ocean. I sit and try to stay warm as everyone returns. I will the boat to move faster back to the dock and once it does, I get out of there as fast as I can. And spend the next few hours driving the island, going to my favorite spots and discovering new favorite spots, trying to pray and work through the internal storm that’s churning. This is, after all, my last Monday in this current paradise.
As evening comes I head back to my side of the island and park at a popular lookout point. I decide to take a little climb up the rocks to get a better view of the rising darkness.
“Hey!” “Excuse me.”
I turn to look.
“The climb is totally worth it.”
There’s a woman standing above me on the rocks.
“You should climb up. The climb is worth it. Are you by yourself?”
“Well I can take you part of the way up. I mean it’s an easy climb. I did it in flip-flops.”
“Oh. Ok.”
As I get closer to my new friend, I smell the alcohol on her breath. Hmmm…
So this flip-flop wearing, happy hour enjoying hiker is going to lead me up a cliff?
“Just take this path. And be safe. It’s pretty easy and there’s a path all the way up. Just stop when you want.”
So…she’s not going to lead me after all. Well, i’ve done my share of hikes so if this woman can do it in her…current state…it must be a piece of cake.
So I start the climb and every time I look back and down, she’s cheering me on. I finally get to my final point and she’s right, the view is totally worth it. As I climb down I hear her cheering me on. She grabs my hand and we walk the rest of the way down hand in hand and we talk.
Her name is ‘J’ and she’s lived here for 20 years and her occupation is…whatever she wants.
Ok. That’s cool.
I then notice two police officers in the parking lot and I think maybe they’re there to lock up. It is close to sunset and maybe the gate is closing. I say my final words to ‘J’ and i’m thankful because she took the time to encourage me, a complete stranger, and hold my hand. And as much as I needed a hug today, a hand hold felt like a hug.
This day was meant to go well…
“Ma’am. Is this your car?”
“Well, it’s been broken into.”
I look at the officers, confused. I walk to the driver’s side of my rental.
Inside the car.
Outside the car.
I want to cry but my ducts are exhausted.
“Don’t touch anything. Is it locked?”
I check my key ring, press the button to unlock the car.
“It looks like a smash and grab. Was anything on the driver’s seat?”
“My purse is gone.”
No. I’d never leave my purse on the front seat of my car. WHY WOULD I LEAVE MY PURSE ON THE FRONT SEAT OF MY CAR?!?!?!
I didn’t. It was hidden. I’ve been hiding it all day!
“What was in the purse?”
“Ummm…I don’t know. I don’t remember. Some deodorant. My phone charger. My wallet.”
My wallet.
Thankfully, my major cards and driver’s license were in a pouch that I kept with me. Everything else is replaceable or forgettable.
The officers have me fill out a police report and clean out my car as best they can and I head to the rental company to get a new car.
Immediately the attendant sees what has happened, checks to make sure i’m ok, and gets me a replacement in 15 minutes time.
And i’m back in business.
This day was meant to go well…
My dive was a bust…
My car was busted (ha ha ha)…
…my joy is still full.
NONE of it broke me. It may have hurt a lot and bruised a bit. But NONE of it broke me.
It’s not the end of the world.
There are people with worse problems.
And I still experienced some beauty.
One of the last things that “J” said to me was “I loved watching you climb all the way up there. It’s a great view. And it’s just for you to keep in your heart. You don’t have to share it if you don’t want to.”
But I will share it. Because the last thing this world needs is one more person who beholds beauty and doesn’t share it.
The day was meant to go well…
I have no complaints.


14 thoughts on “Fear, Felonies, and Fullness of Joy

  1. When I read this I thought you were going to say that J set you up by encouraging you to climb while a lurking accomplice broke into your car. I am glad that it wasn’t the case 🙂 what a beautiful picture!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, that was my first thought. That she set me up. But the cops told me that the area I was in pretty much made me an easy target for a car break in. So rather than stress over whether or not “J” tricked me, I decided to remember her for the encouragement that she gave me and hold her in a positive space in my mind.
      This picture is a photo I took on my iPhone. It was my view from where I chose to stop. So beautiful!!
      Thanks for reading and commenting! 🙂


  2. I’m glad this story ended on a positive note. You really have a nice and great vibe to take it up so positive. Great to read your (in the end not so nice) experience. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This goes to prove that even paradise is in the mind, you may be in paradise but if your mind is not in it, it doesn’t feel like it. It is really creditable that you managed to hang on and the bad experiences did not deter you from enjoying a slice of paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

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