Don't laugh now, but the thought of snorkelling has always made me a little nervous. Breathing through a pipe while having your nose blocked made the word 'claustrophobic' come to mind, so I never felt the need to go out of my way to try it. That was, of course, until we recently visited the Great Barrier Reef.
"You can't go to the Barrier Reef and not go snorkelling!" I was told. So I decided to woman-up and give it a go, and I am so glad I did.
A whole new world
After calming my initial panic-breathing into long deep relaxing breaths, I was welcomed into a world I had never before experienced outside of photos. This underwater world was beautiful. The coral, in so many colours and forms, some swaying to the rhythm of the water, was home to extraordinary sea life and reef fish.
As the sun shone down giving life to this secret underwater world, it exposed a kaleidoscope of colours of iridescent purples, yellows, blues and greens emanating from the coral and the fish - each creature so uniquely different and so uniquely beautiful in its own right working together as a perfect underwater community.
According to greatbarrierreef.com, one of the greatest threats to the protection of the reef is also one of its greatest strengths - 'the level of utter dependence each part of the ecosystem has on one another. That is to say, that if a single organism or species is affected or declines in number, it can have a huge ripple effect both down and up through the Great Barrier Reef's food chain.'
Shipping accidents, oil spills and overfishing amongst other things, greatly affect the health and ongoing care of the reef. Processes have been put in place to help protect this underwater playground and as tourists, we were instructed on how to respectfully treat this beautiful heritage listed area.
Beauty in people
When I look around me in the human world that we live in, I see such beauty here too. I know people who are extraordinary artists who colour the world with their visual imagery; I see dancers who move me to tears. I know people who are always looking to help the lonely or needy, changing lives by the fact that they think beyond themselves.
I know people who play amazing music which speaks to the soul in ways words can not; people who create beautiful garments out of a roll of material; people who serve their lives to give health to others through the medical profession. People who risk their lives to save others from dangerous situations; those who find joy in educating the next generation whether it be through school, music, art, or sport - this is their passion.
I look at these things and I notice how quickly the beauty of people can be pushed aside by the distraction and pollution of devastating news reports of the evil and atrocities that daily affect our world and the people who live in it.
I see, just like the reef, when one part of our world hurts, it affects the rest of it, sometimes with huge ripple effects. But there is still so much beauty to be seen in each one of us and good must triumph over evil.
If we take the gifts that have been given to us, and allow the Son to shine through them, balance can be added to this unbalanced world, hope to hopelessness, joy to misery and colour to grey dark days.
1 Corinthians tells us that, as the church, we have been put together each with our own gifts, to make up one body of many parts. And the body needs all parts. "...in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be." (chapter 12 verse18)
Your part is important so don't underestimate what God has given you. The Bible tells us he made you and formed you in your mother's womb. He is purposeful in what he makes and he has a purpose for you. You have a purpose in the great scheme of things and whether it be noticed or not, the body needs you. Help make this world beautiful and let your light shine.
'For we were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body - whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free - and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.' (1 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 13-14)
Rebecca and her husband Tony, have four children and live on the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Rebecca loves writing children stories, interest articles and teaching piano. She is grateful for a God who loves us.
Rebecca Moore's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/rebecca-moore.html