I got bit by a dolphin. Yup. You read that right, a dolphin.
We were on vacation, and someone was like, hey, let’s swim with the dolphins. Which sounds great, right?
When you picture it in your head, you can nearly hear the fairytale music playing in the background as you see yourself splashing around in the water with Flipper. You both laugh at how much fun you have. Glorious, right? Well, unless you are me. Because I’m the person that if something is going to happen, it will happen right here in this direction, with both fingers pointed towards me.
So, there we were, in the middle of our beautiful experience. Happy, beautiful memories being made swimming with the dolphins. We were petting the dolphins, watching them jump high into the sky, and soaking up all the marvelous splendor around us, and then, the dolphin was done. He decided he wasn’t having any more of it and would take matters into his own hands. So, as he swam towards my smiling face and outstretched hands, listening to me tell him what a good dolphin he was, he turned his head and purposefully grabbed hold of my thumb with his 77 to 237 sharp teeth the trainer had just told us about.
It surprised me. I pulled my hand out of the water, proclaiming what had just happened, more in utter shock than pain. I looked down at my thumb in disbelief, watching as the blood started dripping to reiterate to my brain that this just happened. As you can imagine, the fairytale background music screeching to a halt as the pain begins to set in from teeth that had just ripped through my skin, still holding my thumb up, and as blood drips into the water. I think it took the trainer just as long to process the situation as he made his way to me, his face looking as devastated as my own.
And, at that moment, I think my feelings were hurt more than anything. Sad that the dolphin didn’t want to be my best friend. Sorry that he didn’t enjoy my encouraging words and the kind, friendly vibe I was oozing to convince him to run away to the sea together. He felt differently than me, and I was crushed. This wasn’t the way it was supposed to be.
Everything was moving in slow motion as the medical team poured straight hot lava into my wound, or some “cleaning solution” so they said, and scrubbed it with what feels like steel wool — all while I was signing the paperwork assuring that we won’t sue. The little dolphin trainer looking at me in complete dismay as he goes on about how he has failed me, how the dolphin has failed me, how he wanted us to have this wonderful time and create such beautiful memories. And now it has been ruined—tears welling in his eyes.
And, at that moment, it all made sense, as the words came spilling out to comfort him, in my pure natural fashion.
Sometimes you can’t control everything.
As much as our human nature desires, and we fight to be, we are not God. And no matter how much we prepare and plan and train, bad things happen anyway. Even in paradise. Even in the middle of swimming with the dolphins or when crossing the parking lot, or standing in line at the grocery store, or sitting in your house waiting for your daughter to wake up from her nap.
Bad things still happen. And, as much as we hate it, we are not in control. We can’t fix it. We can’t prevent it. We can’t change it. It is what it is. What living in our broken world on this side of the stars is like. Full of disarray, chaos, and heartache and hurricanes and apparently, biting dolphins.
So, what’s a girl with a dolphin bite to do, you might ask? The same thing a momma who lost her youngest daughter did; she knows this isn’t the story’s end. We don’t have to understand. And we don’t have to be in control when our God is. That is enough for us to find rest in. We don’t have to have it all figured out. We have to hold on to hope and keep looking for the happy moments. Hold on to the good while fighting through the bad. Wrap a bandaid around that sucker and go around knowing you’ve got a story to tell. But remember ALL the parts.
There’s more to a story than just the trials and tribulations. Remember the beautiful experience in the beginning. Remember the fairy tale songs playing in the background. And remember the look in the eyes of the sweet little man filled with angst for you. Tell them about the parts you survived. The parts that left scars. The parts that made you who you are. And the parts that remind you that we are only human, and dolphins are NOT to be trusted.