I have just returned from a seven day cruise in the Caribbean with our friends Jim and Holly. Cruising has turned out to be a real blessing for me in so many ways and so every year it is our gift to ourselves to take time like this with friends.
"The Soul at Sea" is the name of the devotional book about cruising that I want to write - but probably never will. A cruise is a great time to literally get away from everyone and everything and be able to really find some refreshment - and my idea is a little guide to help people to do the reflection that helps us to come back NEW. Here is some of what helps me.
1. Unpacking the first day. I love the idea of a little room that is ours for the week and that time of putting our stuff away and making promises to each other about how neat we are going to be is always fun for me. It is a way of setting this time and place apart. And there is always the promise of something new this week.
2. Finding the place for the week for me to start the day. Chuck sleeps in and I get up early and get coffee and look at the water and read and write. This year that place was usually in the library where they had a big easy chair that looked out on the ocean. . I would buy a premuim cup of coffee and have my special time. There is something about the expanse of the sky and the depth of the ocean and the constancy of the waves that really speaks to my soul. Beginning the day like this centers me.
3. The abundance and variety of food. Chuck and I had most breakfasts and lunch in the "Lido" and I got used to salmon for breakfast and fruit and the wonderful salads they had for lunch. Our dinners in the dining room were always opportunities to try new things - or once a year foods - like lobster, escargot, special soups and appetizers.
4. Going to exotic places and seeing what life is like for others. Our tour of Jamaica was eye opening. We rented a taxi and drove around this beautiful lush island that had the stark realities of very rich and very poor people. Their unemployment rate was 25 percent. Our taxi was stopped twice - first by a young man who was on stilts and dressed up. We paid money to have pictures taken with him.
5. Seeing the wonder of creation. Besides the beauty of the islands and the blessing of blue seas and white beaches we also took a Submarine Trip in Cayman Islands that went 1000 feet under the sea. It was a trip of a lifetime seeing the mountains beneath the ocean, the fish, the life down under. Always I learn how much there is to learn.
6. Having fun. We loved the entertainment, the touring the islands, the freedom to come and go all day however we wanted. Just being away from our regular life and responsibilities was wonderful.
Here is a picture of Jim and Holly at having cigars and port wine one night. I joined in the wine part and it was fun!
Here is a picture of Chuck from Cozumel. There seems to me to be a connection here!
After a week at sea, my soul comes home a little more free, relaxed and at peace. And may now ready to work on a devotional about time away.