All of a sudden, it was there.
I never saw it coming.
Perhaps it was the hammerheads and sawfish that had averted my gaze toward the far side of the 6-million gallon Georgia aquarium tank in which I swam. Either way, I was not prepared for either the proximity or the emotional power of the encounter.
I found myself abruptly on the back of Rhincodon typus, its mosaic blue and silver skin pattern shimmering in the light. The animal’s head and then dorsal fins brushed against my stomach. I stretched my arms out flat and floated still, breathing deeply through my regulator as the enormous creature cruised beneath me.
I was awestruck.
And either beads of salt water had leaked through my goggles, or I was weeping.
Any shade of nervousness I had carried into the tank had dissolved in the water, completely replaced by the hypnotic enchantment a man knows when he is touched by something bigger than himself.
The huge, sweeping tail fin caught my flipper and gently pushed my leg out of its way. I remained motionless as the animal turned and floated out of sight.
Maybe you’re unimpressed by the thought of swimming with the world’s biggest fish.
But it’s moments like this that shoot the electric force of the universe through my veins. Think I’m exaggerating? Swim with a whale shark.
The gentle giant circled back and passed by again. I got a glimpse of its eye: a tiny, ancient-looking disk that, just for a moment, begged me to question whether or not I was truly awake or even alive.
And I realized how beautiful life is. I wondered why people ever become busy, or just sit at home, when things like this not only exist but can actually be seen and enjoyed.
I wondered why boredom exists and why people are so unhappy with life when life itself seems so happy with them.
But as life unfolds, I realize that choosing to be anything less than hopeful and satisfied is a most short-sighted parameter.
So let’s instead seek the beautiful things in life. Dare to dream and believe that there is something, somewhere, ready and waiting to lift our weary hearts from the monotony of our daily lives.
And all of a sudden, it will be there.
You’ll never see it coming.