So last December, my husband booked us for our first cruise ever. We sailed out to Cozumel, Mexico the day before Valentine’s Day. The man is good. In all honesty, I was a little uncomfortable with being out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico with no land in sight, for days. Before you pooh-pooh me, let me say that my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and niece were on the Carnival ship, Triumph, this time last year that lost power at sea and floated, stranded, for days. That coupled with story after story of mass attack stomach bugs on cruise ships recently had me more than a little apprehensive about the whole thing.
But with all the winter weather we’ve been blessed to have lately, I was really looking forward to some fun in the sun for a few days. So I did my best to set aside my concerns in favor of enjoying myself.
I had bought a few pretty dresses, (not something I usually wear) and some sparkly heels (also not something I usually wear) so I was more than a little excited to get all gussied up for the dinners and late shows on the ship. What girl doesn’t like to get pretty every once in a while? Sisters, sometimes we have to remind the old boys why they married us. You get me?
It took us the first day to get settled in with our sea legs. When you are shouldered with a lot of responsibility at home, it takes some time to allow those things to fade from your mind to the point that you are able to truly relax. But after the first day and night, we were like regulars on the ship. Perpetual vacationers. No cares in the world.
Midway through our first day at sea, I determined that I was going to go out on deck and look out at the gulf. I hoped to see a dolphin, or whale, or shark. Heck, I’d take a sea monster. Something. Matthew and I strolled out on deck and up to the railing. I looked down, which was possibly a mistake. I am a weensy bit afraid of heights. For a dizzying moment, I thought I had made a grave error in judgment in venturing to the railing. I quickly checked the security of the railing, and finding to be secure, I allowed myself to calm down and just be in the moment.
Then I lifted my eyes to the horizon. It was a sight I had never seen. As far as my eyes could see, there was only ocean meeting the sky in a perfectly drawn line. The line completely encircled the ship. Our cruise ship was the only thing disturbing the waters in that circle. The pale blue of the sky lacked a single cloud, and the deep turquoise of the ocean was left unbroken by any kind of creature I had hoped to see.
I had a hard time pulling my eyes away from the line of the horizon. “No one”, I thought, “could draw such a perfectly straight line as that one, but God.” There was no flaw, no interruption. It was perfect, as God is perfect. Standing there on the deck of that ship, I put my arm around Matthew and we just stood together and lost ourselves in the beauty of what God had made. I was reminded that all those things above and below the sea had continued before us and would continue to be after we had sailed from those waters. Our passage there was but a momentary distraction.
I looked up at the profile of my husband’s face to realize that moments in life like that one don’t often come every day. That it is up to us to see them and savor them. This life continues both before us and after us. We are but a vapor, here today and soon gone. If we aren’t paying attention, we can miss it. Whether or not we make a lasting impact during our stay here is completely up to us and completely dependent on our intentionality in making that impact.
The breeze had picked up on the deck as we stood there, and so I snuggled in close to Matthew and with my ear to his chest, I could hear his heart beating. Suddenly, I couldn’t help thinking of the chorus lyrics to that Rod Stewart song, “The Rhythm of My Heart”.
“Oh, the rhythm of my heart, is beating like a drum
With the words, “I love you”, rolling off my tongue
No never will I roam, for I know my place is home
Where the ocean meets the sky, I’ll be sailing”
Thank you, Matthew for a wonderful cruise, and moments to share with you, and for moments when God showed me more of who he is and who I am.
I love you.