Posted by: JennyRain | August 10, 2010

Beauty, Majesty, and Wonder: Life-Interrupted

To see the majesty of our world and believe there is no God is to live in a functional atheism.

Thanks to the generosity of our family who donated a time-share and D&D who watched the puglets, last week my husband and I had the gift of going on a much-overdue honeymoon to St. Thomas.

It was glorious!

This was my husband’s third time to the caribbean and my first. An avid diver, he has been recounting the wonders of sea-diving for over a year.

One particular dive story John shares is in the Bahamas.

Slick grey and blue schools of fish scurry by his head as he lazily flutters along the edge of the coastline. Bright blue and green coral smacked with an occasional red-nettle fish invite him to journey farther along the reef and see the mysteries of the deep.

Then the ocean drops off on a 90 degree vertical shelf.

John keeps swimming until it is just him and thousands of pounds of ocean all around him.

It was his God-moment.

It would have been mine too… but for an entirely different set of reasons!

John did not talk me into diving in St. Thomas, but I tried snorkeling.

To say I took to it like a fish to water would be a stretch.

To say it was like another world, full of wonder, majesty, and beauty would be an understatement.

As soon as I placed the mask on my face and dipped my head below the skim of the waterline, it was like being in a new world.

“Ching… cring…. crink”

The sound of fish crunching on sea coral was punctuated only occasionally with a…

“ooom… ooom eeeeaaahhh”

(Translated: “Look! Look here!” spoken through our snorkel masks)

Bright pink and green fish with yellow fins caught the gleam of the sunlight as they sped past our masks… Rich violet-blue dressed teardrop shaped swimmer-fish… orange-spotted trumpet fish hid in the chimney coral while candy-cane-striped schools of mini-floater fish hung out nearby.

My eyes were assaulted with extravagant colors everywhere I looked.

Backward-swimming grey fish wearing bed-skirts (I later found out they were squid) hovered in pairs around us when we floated with them. They jetted off each time we tried to swim up to them.

The sun bounced off the reef and floor of the ocean and beckoned us to explore its crevices.

The silence of the embrace of the ocean wrapped around us in a gentle protection.

The extravagance of nature is superfluous.

Seeing it, one can envision God addressing His earthly canvas with dripping paintbrushes, smattering blue and red blobs of heavenly paint in the most inauspicious places just for the wonder of earth’s inhabitants.

A smear of tea-green to create the palm-tree coast.

A mix of orange and blood-red for the sun and coral.

A smatter of brown-clay combined with sea-foam green to make the sea-turtle come to life.

And a bit of purple-mango for the follow-fish.

To call the ocean majestic feels like an insult.

Here are just some of the scenes we witnessed in St. Thomas…

may you be captivated by the wonderous world we call home too… and may you sense the Hands of Him who created it too…




  1. That’s awesome!! I love me some snorklin! So beautiful! Love seeing what God painted down in the coral! Good thing you did not watch shark week!

    • Girl – my husband watched it all week long! I was like “turn that off! you are freaking me out!” 🙂

  2. I’m glad you had a great time! 🙂

    • it was perfect 🙂 would love to be a cast-away for awhile on a caribbean island with a hut 🙂

  3. Living in Florida we snorkel almost weekly. It ALWAYS takes my breath away. I put on my mask and wonder just what God will bring for me to see that day. It is another way I know how much he loves me. He wants me to see these beautiful creatures. Do you know that a sea turtle has no reason at all for its gorgeous shell? It is not for camouflage. Scientists can’t figure it out. It is for us to see. Even the shell of a turtle is put into place as an extravagant gift to his children. There is NOTHING like snorkeling or sitting at the ocean or standing on a mountain or witnessing a massive lightening storm to be reminded how high and wide and deep is the love of Christ. How great is his power. How BIG he really is!

    • so true… I had no idea about the turtle shell! I think what I was most stunned by was the opulence of nature… it is absolutely outrageous how beautiful it is 🙂

  4. What a treat, Jenny! I have a list in my bedroom that says, “When my ship comes in…” filled with earthly desires, haha! St. Thomas has just been added! Haha!

    I went scuba diving once…went 6 feet under and came up laughing hysterically for like a hour. WHAT? Then I swam in the ocean in Hawaii and a sea turtle popped in right next to me and I screamed and ran to shore as fast as I could. Hmmm, won’t tell you about the kayaking to a small island where I almost.died of FEAR.

    Maybe I’ll do better next time. Such breathtaking scenery!!! What a creative God we serve!!!

    • Oh my gosh Melissa – you just made me laugh out loud – still giggling! My husband tried to get me to do the diving thing but I’m a big fraidy cat! I swam with the sea turtles too they reminded me of my pug (just swimming)… it was so neat 🙂

  5. Just a quick note from Your Friendly Neighborhood Atheist in answer to your question of how one can view the awesome beauty of the world and not believe in God:

    In my view, the stunning and vast power of the laws and functions nature, physics, biology, evolution, etc are no less miraculous than any other explanation for that awesome beauty. Many people believe that a God is behind those laws and functions, and I respect that. To me, though, it is amazing enough, astounding enough, awe-inspiring enough, mind-blowing enough, beautiful enough and gratitude-producing enough just that it IS.

    Hope you’ve been well, lady! Sending love!

    • (PS – I’m reading a really interesting and fiesty book in Bible study that you’d maybe like: Bad Girls of the Bible by Barbara J. Essex.

    • LOL – figured I’d de-lurk ya with that first comment 🙂 Thanks for weighing on the convo … it was GORgisimous (if I can coin a word) to snorkel – wow! Just absolutely mind-boggling…. have more videos going up of our trip on Thursday. Could not get enough of the blue seas and beautiful caribbean.

      Love that you are reading Bad girls of the bible – read a similar book by Liz Curtis Higgs a while back and LOVED it. So cool to see all the different stories of all the people in the bible. OOO enjoy your study!

      • OOH! Your fiendish and clever ruse worked. Well played, madam, well played. 😉

        The Caribbean truly is a wonder. I’ve been there twice with my cowboy/pirate daddy. I FORCED myself to go snorkeling that first time, because I have always been terrified of open water. Being able to see the beauty, getting absorbed in exploration rather than focusing on my own fear, was one of the ways I got myself over it enough to be able to enjoy it. Yay for fishies!!!

        Yeah, I discovered the other BBotB when I was looking for that link to post. I’ll have to check it out! Our pastor Don Guest is a radical bum-kicking feminist, and his commentary in addition to the text makes stories that I have only painful memories of from childhood suddenly very accessible and relevent. Been enjoying getting to interact with the stories and reclaim them from a traumatic religious upbringing.

  6. Gorgeous friend.

  7. I’m so thrilled for you! St. Thomas was beautiful. We didn’t get to see much of it because we only had 1 day there and Steve wanted to go see the National Park on St. John’s. I think he was also hoping for a Kenny Chesney sighting, lol. Steve is an avid diver, and he sacrificed this love for the trip to St. John’s and for me/us to be able to go horseback riding on the beach…my lifelong dream. It was glorious, amazing, and quite a thrill to be on a horse’s back while it swam. I really need to blog about it, but the to-do list still has higher priority items. We tried and tried to get Steve a dive trip on our cruise, but failed each time. I really enjoyed your pictures here…nice shots set to fun music! I hope your return to your world in N.VA has been peaceful after your R&R.

  8. […] Beauty, Majesty, and Wonder: Life-Interrupted The sun bounced off the reef and floor of the ocean and beckoned us to explore its crevices. The silence of the embrace of the ocean wrapped around us in a gentle protection. The extravagance of nature is superfluous. […]

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