Of course, I must have said thank you, possibly cried. Instantly, I recognized the pose of achievement. Why wouldn't I see it? I was paddling from the Arctic Ocean to Cape Horn headed for the golden ring. I don't remember other details of the gifting but I do remember a gentle tussle with my mother. "I'm wearing it," I announced. "But it might get hurt," she admonished. "Mom, I'm paddling to Cape Horn," I reminded. "If the dolphin is ruined, so am I."
I paddled the South Atlantic, into Terra del Fuegro, the Beagle Channel with the Tiffany dolphin pinned to my coat. Did my mother know what I only learned today? The dolphin is the totem mammal for the healing professions and ministry. A mother's anointing and confirmation of my call to ministry. At the time, I did not know the spiritual significance of the image. I only saw the dolphin making it look easy while striving, straining, reaching and achieving the golden ring.
So, twenty plus years pass and I have six adopted children. The dolphin rests in my top drawer. One day, I come into my bedroom on the second floor and find a 1/4 inch post of yellow metal on the floor. There were several bits of goldish junk on the carpet and another small piece caught between two floor boards beneath the door. "Someone could hurt a bare foot," I thought as I carefully picked up the debris and threw it away. A few weeks later, I found the dolphin without the ring. There was no doubt in my mind that the pieces and bits had been the ring. One of our children vandalized the gift. I wondered which one of the bunch took my husband's tools ripped and pry ed apart the dolphin's prize and mine.
Working through cancer, it seems to me that the child -- the one never named, the one who would not admit nor accept responsibility set the dolphin free. No longer would the dolphin seek to perform. The dolphin is without necklace, naked, wild and free.