Climbing down the slippery cliff toward our favorite beach, we held on for dear life. Rain the night before had made the already treacherous path even more dangerous. Yet, beach goers like ourselves knew that the snorkeling and swimming below was worth the effort so we forged ahead!
In our little group we had two toddlers to be mindful of so it was truly amazing to watch how thoughtful and kind other “path climbers” were to allow us to pass making sure those kids got to the bottom or the top safely. Mind you, stepping out-of-the-way or making room was as challenging as actually making the trek!
Feet full of red clay, a few scratches here and there and a fresh bruise on the bottom of my foot; I and my family made it to the bottom to enjoy this spectacular beach; not once but 4 times during our stay on Kauai!
Hidden Beach is a small beach in the Princeville area of the Island of Kauai; this area draws hundreds and hundreds of vacationers every single year! This beach is a “hidden” favorite and not for the faint of heart.
This particular day the surf was especially high as there was a hurricane looming outside the area; we were on alert but not deeply concerned. As so many folks gathered on this small strip of beach I was enjoying the sounds of so many different languages all around me; a gathering place of so many individuals and families from every nation, economic status, gender, personal persuasions, and spiritual focus. We were all so different as we enjoyed this God-given gift of His beautiful ocean together.
Mid-day it happened. Waves had been slowly creeping closer and closer to the place where our towels (and the towels of many others) had been carefully laid out. Snorkel gear, children’s sand toys, and ice chests full of well-prepared lunches were spread around the outside of the towels.
All of a sudden an especially large set of waves blew in and without any warning shot huge waves far beyond the water line that it had marked for most of the day. Saltwater flew all the way up to the rock wall that served as the back of the beach until this point! Possessions belonging to every beach goer began to fly in all directions and quickly began being pulled along with the wave back into the ocean!
Everybody grabbed items for everybody. Everybody tried to help everybody. Everybody wanted everyone to retain all his or her items. Everyone worked together for the common good. Everyone!
I’m certain that a child’s shovel or two were pulled out to sea but we all had the good fortune to have taken all our personal items home, they were soaked but they were ours. Each one of us was grateful to everyone’s willingness and kindness. We smiled a knowing smile as we nodded a “thank you” to one another.
Later that night I took time to ponder what that experience meant to me. What stood out about that situation that grabbed my attention in a fresh way? What made me smile? For me, watching the willingness strangers in every walk of life and every way of life lay aside any differences to jump to their feet to simply help another human being. They weren’t get paid or rewarded, no one mandated the response. Everyone just jumped in to help collectively and it was crazy, beautiful to watch.
This unique gathering of people on the beach is a picture of gatherings we might find at a concert, the airport, or even a restaurant. Yet, it could also be your grocery store, library, or even church. It took a huge wave to cause us all to jump to our feet in an effort to reach across our comfort levels to help each other; it took a mini-crisis.
We often see individuals cross comfort lines when there is a shooting, a weather crisis, or some other community or world tragedy.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if it didn’t take a crisis, tragedy, or “mini-crisis” for us to love actively on those around us? Imagine the impact in our world if we all spent our days being watchful to come alongside those who are so different from us to encourage them, support them, or to simply lend a hand!
The Spring is coming and it can feel like a fresh start in many ways. Take this season to consider stepping beyond a crisis or comfort zone to show kindness, empathy, and be a hand extended to beautiful humans who simply might not be comfortably similar to you.
Finding our soul begins by discovering our ability to notice those around us! Alternatively, by sharing a smile (even in a mask), a laugh, or just by being kind to everyone – including those who may view life very different from us!