Well, we are back from our trip and I brought back a lovely souvenir, a nasty old cold. So, as I’m surrendering to the idea that I will most likely spend most of my day in bed, I thought this would be as good a time as ever to write.
The trip was….good. Certainly a mixture of things. I would say mostly due to the nature of the vacation itself. Adam and I had about two and a half days of travel and sight seeing in London on our own, and most days on the cruise ship, but the rest of the time we were on a boat with 400 other people. Since it was kind of a business trip, there were lots of social obligations – happy hours and dinners to attend, on or off the ship. This part really wore on us; especially me. I was thankful that Adam’s boss’ wife was on the trip so we could go sit in a corner and talk, avoiding the typical mingle conversations. Alcohol was free, which served to be a blessing when I was trapped in a couple of painful conversations.
But, I’ll skip to the good parts now. Almost every day we woke up in a new place! Day 1 was kayaking on Guernsey Island. Day 2 was Cork-where of course we kissed the Blarney Stone. Day 3 was Dublin where we did a Jameson and Guinness Tour, then spent the rest of the day exploring the city-which we really loved! Day 4 was Belfast where we got out as fast as we could to hit up the less dangerous and breath-taking countryside. This was probably my most favorite day. Day 5 we were “at sea” where I got a massage, competed in a Chopped competition with 5 other teammates, and Adam lost some money playing Black Jack 😉 Day 6 we were in Edinburgh, which was definitely another favorite for both of us. Everything was so old! Cobblestone streets, 18th century buildings, the castle on the top of the city. It was gorgeous. And, to top it all off the Gala on the last night was in a 17th century manor!
When I look back on this trip I really hope it’s the adventures we had together off the ship that I remember the most. I felt so insecure and out of place on the ship. We were the youngest people on the ship, FOR SURE! And, by like 20-30 years for the most part. I spent a lot of the time letting this affect me instead of seeing what a gift it was that we were even getting to experience this at our age!
It really hit me during karaoke one night. And, no, I was not participating. If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience a cruise ship karaoke session, just imagine regular karaoke but the people are much whiter and have no sense of rhythm or ability to match pitch. Anyway, it wasn’t until a 60-something was up there singing (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones that it settled for me. Adam and I had not only been given the gift of being wined and dined, but we have been given the gift of seeing what most people see as the ultimate joy. The ultimate experience of being treated like kings and queens and their hearts are probably still singing The Rolling Stones. These men and women have already begun to experience that life doesn’t last forever in the slow decaying of their bodies. Botox and breast implants abounded! Bad wigs and fancy clothes try to conceal the reality that they are headed for the grave. And, we are too.
But what I felt Jesus saying to me was that He has given Adam and I the opportunity to face death through our loss, to consider and learn to live in the reality and hope of eternity every single day. He gave us the gift of letting us go through that pain now and not wait until we had missed connecting with our family or friends because of a successful career, or trying to maintain a perfect image. Can you imagine how hard it would be to realize what’s really important after years and years of relational patterns have been set in place? How hopeless that must feel. And, even though I still have my youth (though I realize not for much longer) I see my desperate desire to maintain a clean and managed house or manicured lawn, and I see all the games of hide and seek I might miss out on one day, or the conversations about school, or simply the chance to watch and relish in the miracle of an eternal soul beside me.
May this never ever ever ever ever be.