While we were in Hawaii last week I had the privilege of snorkeling in Hanauma Bay. A simple statement but a very complicated process with a knee that can not bear weight and a leg that can not kick. It took a multitude of people to make it happen and my husband was leading the parade, convinced that somehow we could make this work.
Before we left Minnesota the engineer in my husband kicked in and he fashioned sand tips for my crutches. He cut 6-inch circles from steel plates which he bolted to an extra pair of crutch tips. This was to increase the surface area so the crutches would not sink into the sand. They worked exactly as he had hoped.
We contacted a company before our arrival to rent a wheelchair. This company was waiting for us at our hotel when we arrived and added a free scooter to our package for the week. He included tourist information on handicap accessible sites and Hanaumu Bay was one of them.
The Concierge at out hotel connected us with a tour company who could handle my wheelchair and supply the snorkel equipment. The owner of the company called me several times with the details of how we could make this happen and made an extra trip to the beach to bring a flotation device so I could stay afloat without kicking.
A steep, paved hill leads down a crater to the bay below. They had a special golf cart with a ramp where I could roll on and they could lock the wheelchair in place. After getting to the base of the hill we still had a large beach to cross. Enter an all-terrain wheelchair which basically has intertubes for tires so you can cross the sand without sinking. At the water’s edge I switched to the sand crutches so I could get deep enough into the ocean to use the flotation device without putting any weight on my bad knee or kicking that leg. At which point my husband ran the crutches back to the beach and hurried back into the water before the wife who could not kick got carried out to sea. Keep in mind that all of this is happening while I am in a swimsuit and that in none of these circumstances did I look the least bit graceful!
After all that we spent 2 glorious hours snorkeling the bay. My husband held on to me the entire time and pulled me along. Since it is pretty much impossible to move much of anywhere against the force of the ocean waves without kicking. The sun was warm on my back, my husband’s hand firm on my waist, and a myriad of colorful fish swam the reef below me. I felt such peace and contentment floating in the Pacific Ocean that day. My heart was filled with praise for our Creator and for each person who had helped make my time in Hanaumu Bay happen. My husband, the man we rented the wheelchair from, the concierge, the tour company, the van driver, the golf cart driver, the tour company owner, the all-terrain wheelchair people and again my husband. It truly took a village to get me into the water that day!
Precious Father – Thank you for this injury that has truly been a blessing in disguise. Thank you for all the people who united that day around a common goal to get me into the water. Thank you for my new awareness of how difficult the simplest of things can be for those who do not have full use of their limbs. Lord may we all be more sensitive to the needs (visible and invisible) of the people around us and may we be the one to offer a helping hand when needed. Amen.