What I Learned from Dolphins

OK--so anyone who knows me understands that patience is not one of my long suits! In fact, truth be told, I can be very impatient! In one of my first letters of reference the president of my seminary praised my work as a budding preacher, but ended his letter by noting "John will need to learn that patience is a virtue." That was almost forty years ago! I'm still learning!


Right at the moment we are getting my mother prepared to move down here to Florida from the town she has called home for almost three decades. There are a ton of details, and many things to be arranged financially, legally, medically, logistically . . . and some of the details can't be rushed. They just have to unfold in their own time.

Last week I was particularly caught up in some of those details, and I found myself getting rather irritable. I am delighted Mother is moving here, but I just wanted things to happen more quickly. I didn't want to wait for this person or that person to make a decision, or to take an action. I wanted it all to happen NOW!

Late in the week my brother Bob was here for a very short visit. He lives in Marquette, Michigan, and while he had been to Florida before, it had been quite some time ago, and, needless to say, its a rather different world down here from the Frozen North!

My wife Linda and I decided to take him out for a tour of Sanibel and Captiva on a boat called "The Thriller!" While there are no guarantees, the Thriller prides itself on finding dolphins at play in the Gulf. It was a two hour trip, and as we went along, no dolphins. Forty-five minutes, and all the way up the Gulf side of the islands, no dolphins. Across the pass, and down into San Carlos Bay. One hour. No dolphins. I was getting pretty antsy. We'd promised Bob some dolphins. It would be a long cold winter in Marquette without them!

Seventy-five minutes in, still no dolphins.

Suddenly, the captain slowed down the engines, usually a sign that dolphins have been spotted. We circled slowly, when without much warning, a dolphin's fin was seen on the surface, and then another, and another. And then one of them breached--practically flew into the air! Soon a pod of seven or eight dolphins, including two adorable juveniles, were frolicking in the boat's wake. More dolphins than I had ever seen at one time. It was amazing! Incredible! breathtaking! And brother Bob was spellbound.

And it was right then and there on the boat that I realized while the details of Mother's move may still take some time to iron out, the old saying is true: Good things do come to those who wait.


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