Remembering “Close Encounters” with God

Dear Reader:

Ever since my spiritual and life-altering experience with the dolphin on the jetties (at Edisto Beach in 2008) I have received all kinds of dolphins from many of you readers…from jewelry to note cards to artworks (like the dolphin in my “computer” window Honey got me soon after my dolphin encounter) and her last dolphin gift…A Christmas statue last year.)

Yesterday I was categorizing books by the same author and came across Mark Nepo’s book of poems called: Reduced to Joy

Nepo’s poems (over seventy in the book) really make one stop and pause which is a very important thing in life…even more so during Advent. As I flipped through the book again after a long recess from it…the page I turned to was simply titled: “Way of the Dolphin.” Immediately my encounter with “my” dolphin at Edisto Beach (almost a decade ago) came flooding back from the attic of my memories.

Everything I have ever tried to tell people about that incident seems to pale in comparison to the experience itself. On a foggy morning, with only two other people on the beach…I plopped down, exhausted, on the jetties wondering what the future had in store for me…just weeks following my initial diagnosis of breast cancer.

Suddenly this magnificent creature of God jumped straight up over me and the jetties with that smile on its face… seemingly beaming down at me….flooding me with the knowledge that no matter what- everything was just as it should be…all was right with the universe and all was right with me. Then it disappeared.

If it had not been for that couple there as witnesses…even now I would have thought I dreamed the whole thing up.) Mark Nepo summarized it perfectly because he, too, has faced cancer and discovered the connection between this beautiful creature of the sea and his health outlook:

It was years ago that I learned that our job as spirits in bodies is to let our spirit rise from within to meet and inhabit the world, every chance we get. It was walking along the Battery in Charleston that this all came back to me, so very clearly, while sighting a dolphin. Mark Nepo

Way of the Dolphin

Standing in the harbor, these slick
wonders slip their fins in and out
of early sun. I close my eyes and re-
member being wheeled into surgery
all those years ago; believing my job
was to meet my surgeon at the sur-
face, so the rib he had to remove
would slip out, like a dolphin of
bone, as soon as he would cut me.

I’ve learned that everything that
matters goes the way of the dolphin:
drifting most of the time out of
view, breaking surface when
we least expect it.

And our job—in finding God, in
being God; in finding truth, in
being truth; in finding love, in
being love—is to meet the world
at the surface where Spirit slips
out through every cut.
— Mark Nepo

That is what the dolphin taught me on a foggy fall day ten years ago. We must meet the world at the surface where the Divine appears to bring us ‘tidings of great joy.’

So until tomorrow…God is always there for us, sometimes out of view, but always open to surprising us with His  sudden appearance when least expected. This is the season for sudden appearances from angels on high.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

Last night I did some Christmas storytelling for my friend Carol Poole for their  annual Aldersgate United Methodist Women Christmas Banquet. The food, as always was delicous…I think you must have to pass some cook school exam to be accepted as a member. It was the best meal I have had in awhile. So good!

They had a quotation in their program by C.S. Lewis that I liked a lot and wanted to share with you. “The Son of God became a Man to enable men to become Sons of God.”

Luke & Carol…It was so wonderful to spend time together again! Thanks for the invitation and Thank God for providing my car back in time to fulfill this important commitment.



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Remembering “Close Encounters” with God

  1. bcparkison says:

    Love the C.S.Lewis quote. Ssshhh..can you hear the heavens sing?


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