This seemed like a great idea at the time, but now not so much. The beginning of this didn’t seem so bad, but it got worse. The descent had taken a steep dive, and the path was slippery. It was not your typical tourist jaunt laid out with cement steps and a railing. There were no smiling greeters to guide you or tell you that you weren’t going to die.
It was rugged and all natural the whole way, and I wondered why this detail had been left out of the description in the vacationer’s guide. It was bordering on treacherous. There was an entire jungle to my right and left, and while it was beautiful, it was dangerous.
She had bought the book to study what would be the most exciting and unforgettable sites to see while in Maui.
“There’s this place called The Secret Beach.”
Anytime there’s a bit of mystery and intrigue involved, she knows she can get me to listen to her. It must be my overactive imagination that pulls me right in.
“Why do they call it that?”
“It’s supposed to be hidden. Not a lot of people go there, so they gave it that name.”
When you are sitting in the comfort of your condo, drinking coffee, looking at professional photographs, you can be talked into anything. Throw on a mystifying title, and now you are in the car trying to find the elusive location.
“Let me read what it says.”
At the bottom of the paragraph, there was a slight mention of it being so undisclosed that people felt free to shed their swimsuits. I looked at her like a mother would.
“Did you see this part right here? Are you prepared for that? Am I prepared for that? I don’t know.”
“It says it’s a rumor.”
I read further, and it did, but could I trust that? What if this ended up being a whole nudist colony? Even if I’m home alone, I lock the bathroom door for privacy!
According to the rest of this blurb about one of the most enticing scenes on the island, surfers wanted the beach to themselves so they made up a wild story to scare off visitors. They didn’t want a lot of traffic to contend with.
That made sense. I hoped.
In fact, it was the least of my worries as I half slid down to wherever this was that I was going. I could faintly hear the crash of the waves ahead, but I was trying to focus on not falling into the abyss on either side of me. Both of us had to stop to catch our breath.
She knew what I was thinking, but I was trying to stay positive. Every muscle in my legs was on fire, and stopping was only prolonging the agony. There was so much sweat and effort being put into this. I looked back up from where I had come as I considered turning around. It seemed pointless because I was at the halfway mark. And I didn’t want to disappoint her. I just can never do that.
We resumed our careful movement as I tried not to imagine a sprained or broken ankle with each step. I didn’t want to be having a medical emergency on Gilligan’s Island.
The narrowness of the trail forced us to walk single file. Coming towards us was a man holding a surfboard. He had no problem maintaining his composure as he easily sprinted upward. We both moved over as far as we could. As he ran past us, he blurted out,
“There are a lot of old naked people down there!”
What was I walking into? They don’t do this in Minnesota! It’s too cold to do this tropical free for all in that neck of the woods. We zip up to our chins most of the time.
“What did he just say to us?”
She repeated it.
“Is he lying?” She asked.
At that point, I needed to sit down, and I couldn’t where I stood. So I had no choice but to keep on going no matter what was up ahead.
“He probably is. That’s what the book said.”
Finally, we reached the bottom, and it was unbelievably beautiful, not only because there wasn’t a nudist retreat going on but a majestic ocean right in front of us. There were only a handful of people that I could see, properly dressed, so I didn’t have to execute my plan of throwing my towel over her head to protect her from anything obscene.
No longer fearing the unknown, we ventured forth to fall back into an exhausted state of being. We sat there unmoving for a while, watching a single surfer perform his magic on tumultuous waves.
It was a desolate place, straight out of a book on being shipwrecked. I stood up, ready to walk again, to take a few pictures. A lady was looking out at the water.
“It’s so pretty here,” she said as I came by.
“Yes. We don’t have this in Minnesota.”
“You are not from there!”
“Yes, I am.”
“I’m from there too!”
We found out we lived about 40 minutes from one another. It was a small world moment for us both in the middle of nowhere.
I noticed an older couple walking close to the water with heavy duty shoes on. That seemed strange to me. He used a huge walking stick as they trudged along. There was no way these two had gotten down there as we had. I saw them stop and speak to the people a little further down from us. There was a lot of pointing at the sand, conversing and pointing downward.
I noticed the people they had spoken to were now moving around quickly like something was wrong.
One of them saw me staring and said,
“Be careful! There are jellyfish all around you! “
The older couple shuffled over. They began pointing out every jellyfish that we were in the midst of, and while they were dead, they could still sting if stepped on. I looked around at the glistening forms that I hadn’t even realized were there.
As our bad news ambassadors moved on, I stood with bare feet on top of my tennis shoes. Both of us decided to ditch this event and return to civilization; I would not let one inch of my bare skin touch a thing, and neither did she. We balanced up against each other as we slid back into socks.
After all was said and done, I was glad I had the experience with her. There were so many reasons not to follow through with it, but we pressed on, determined to see something we hadn’t before.
I realize that is what God wants us to do. We are being called to see things in ways that we never thought possible, even though it may frighten us to the core. It’s a change of scenery with a new perspective. We aren’t to be so mentally locked down that we disregard a message that heaven is sending. If so, we will miss out, and it will be our fault. Not God, but us.
Our reasoning gets in the way. We look at something and make a split-second decision about how wrong or right it is. I have done that, and you have too. It becomes too scary instead of investigating and allowing God to show you something, so it gets immediately shut down. If it doesn’t line up with the comfort zone, then it has to go.
Is that truly living to our highest, most authentic self? The tricky part of allowing more is to surrender what we think we know. The walk is by faith and not by sight.
In Isaiah 55:8, it says:
I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work.”(Message)
For some of us, that’s about as appealing as being pushed off a cliff because we want to be in charge at all times with no surprises. We don’t want uncertainty and a free fall without an end. We want rules and predictability, so we feel safe and secure, accomplishing next to nothing spiritually.
So ask yourself: What’s so wrong with taking a chance and letting the One who knows it all and sees it all offer you a new view?