Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Am Indeed Blessed!

One of my co-workers, Lewie, thinks that I'm one of the luckiest people he's ever met. It's because things just happen to have this way of working out for me and I seem to always have amazing things happen to me. You could say I was lucky because sunsets like the one pictured above, which happened just a couple nights ago is fairly routine out here, and I get to enjoy them all the time. Some of the reasons Lewie has come to this conclusion are because I've found a nearly new digital camera in an underwater housing while diving in the Grotto before, and yes, it still worked just fine. There have been several times that I was diving the Grotto picking up trash people had thrown in it and I've found $20 bills. Not just once or twice, but several times now. I had someone come out to Saipan a little less than a year ago, who just happened to want something I had. It was something I hadn't spent any money on, but he wanted, and I wound up with a brand new Canon EOS Rebel Xti Digital camera with 5 lenses, a carrying case, tripods and a bunch of other gear in exchange for my item which I didn't really even want any longer. I had a health insurance company trying to tell me recently that I owed them $250 for items that weren't covered when I went to Hong Kong for a heart cathaterization a couple years ago. In the end, instead of me having to pay them $250, they wound up sending me a check for nearly $1,000. And then last weekend while diving at Lau Lau, I jumped in the water right where you start your dive, and when I got to the bottom I found this!It's an Aladdin dive computer that was working and recording someones dive when I found it. So even though I've already got a dive computer, and I just ordered Kelli new dive gear, thanks to the check from that insurance company, now I've got a dive computer for other people I take diving to wear. Very cool! So am I just extraordinarily lucky? I don't think so, I mean when you figure how many hours I spend underwater every week, odds are good that I'm going to find some things that other divers have lost. Some people would still consider that lucky, but I don't, I feel like I'm blessed. Extraordinarily, over the top, blow your socks off - BLESSED!

This was kind of brought home to me today as I was reading some of the comments from people on Link Referral who have read my blog and looked at the pictures on my Smugmug site. Let me share their comments with you so you know what I mean.

-"Incredible. I'm not usually the the jealous type, but I have to honestly say that I envy you. What an awesome site. I loved watching that curious little turtle come up and bump your camera. You could almost see his mind working as he looked at you in curiosity. I've never went on a dive before but I would love to when I can save up enough. Thank you so much..."

-"Awesome awesome website. The photos are lovely. The map is beuatiful - i love maps. My Picks are great, actually everythng I clicked was stunning! I could loose myself in there for hours. You are one very lucky man! And to think that something with all those photos could be so fast, that is really nice. The layout is great is nice and easy. I better stop repeating myself. Fantabulous job!.."

Yes, I'll admit, I'm getting the chance to live most people's dream. Most people scrimp and save all year for the chance to go somewhere like this for a week or two on vacation, it's what keeps them going all year until the next vacation. But I'm living the vacation, I get to dive every weekend of the year and combine two of my passions, scuba diving and photography. It just doesn't get much better than that.

But again, getting back to the being "lucky" thing. I truly believe it's not just blind luck, I believe that God has for His own reasons decided to just bless me abundantly, far beyond anything I could have ever imagined or asked for, and certainly far beyond anything I deserve.

He has blessed me with the most amazing wife I could have ever asked for. There is no doubt in my mind that Kelli loves me unconditionally and is completely and totally devoted to me. I know that she has spent thousands of hours praying for me and asking for God's blessings on us, I believe those prayers have been, and are continuing to be answered. I have seen the bible promise of "Seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be given to you" answered over and over during our life together.

I will never be a rich man, as far as monetary wealth goes. I have too much fun giving it away to others. When I am blessed, I have fun passing those blessings on to others. When I found the underwater digital camera and housing, I gave it to a friend of mine who had just given her digital camera to her sister in the Philippines. I knew she would get much more use and enjoyment out of it than I possibly could. Yes, I had people offering to buy it from me, but that would have just given me some money which would have disappeared and I'd have forgotten what I bought with it. But this way I have the satisfaction of knowing that she has a camera she will use to capture memories and special moments while she's going to college that she will continue to share with her mother and family back in the Philippines. One option would add toward your monetary wealth, the other is absolutely priceless! I've tried to follow that principle throughout my life, and truly share with others what I have been given. You might say that I'm unbelievably lucky, I say that I am extraordinarily blessed. When my time on this earth is gone and it's time for those left behind to say goodbye, I won't have to worry about them fighting over my riches, there won't be any. But hopefully there will be an interesting assortment of people left behind who will all have their own little story of their brushes with this eccentric old dive bum, and they will incorporate the principle of sharing the wealth, and passing along what has been given to you to make a difference in someone else's life. If there was one principle I would impart to you it would be this, get out of the rat race and get into the giving race. It's a decision you'll never regret, and you will truly leave a lasting impression on those whose lives you've touched.This is a picture of Kelli & I with Semona Igama at her graduation from Northern Marianas College last Saturday. I had the privilege of awarding her with a Saipan Chamber of Commerce scholarship a couple years ago. I have stayed in contact with her, offering advice when she asks for it, writing letters of recommendation for various scholarships, having her work for me as an intern, teaching her to drive and be a listening ear for those rare occasions when she wants to talk about something. Semona graduated Summa Cum Laude and is now heading off to Arizona State University to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. Semona is going to go far in life and will undoubtedly make a real difference in many peoples lives. It's all about giving back and investing in other people. And yes, I am indeed BLESSED!