The Caribbean zips by our cabin window at 19 knots as we head home after a six day cruise. We are crusin’ and snoozin, celebrating the end of my radiation treatments, with stops at the Yucatan, Belize, Roatan and Grand Cayman, but the best part was shmoozin’ with the people God brought to us.
No Mayan Bible? On the Yucatan we relived ancient Mayan life through the eyes of Ivan, our tour guide. As we explored the massive stone pyramids built by his ancestors, we found he grew up in a small, isolated Mayan village. At eleven his mother sent him off to get an education and while studying his own culture, got homesick and returned to his roots. I asked if there was a Bible in his language and he said Mayans wasn’t written down. There are three million Mayans throughout Mexico and Central America, but no Bible.
He had an amazing knowledge of the healing virtues of the abundant flora around us. I suggested that he was a Shaman (a tribal healer). He demurred, but seemed pleased. We finished our tour with the best meal of the week, prepared by Mayan ladies in their village.
Where Somebody Knows Your Name. Back on board while returning from the swimming pool, I heard my name. Surprised, I turned and saw a couple in their 60’s sitting at a table. He had his arm around her. She smiled as though we were old friends.
“Oh, we saw you at Karaoke last night and heard you sing. We really liked it.”
I must admit, I was pleased for the recognition. “Oh, yes, Sweet Caroline and Amore are great sing-a-longs. But how did you know my name?”
“They had it up in lights every time you came on, remember?”
I had forgotten that. Then I noticed plastic tubes running up her nose. “So, tell me, what’s with the oxygen?” She explained she had a fatal lung condition. I sat down, listened to her story and then shared my recent cancer diagnosis. The three of us really connected. Her husband told me that he did the cooking now and only worked part time. “Janet is my full time job,” he explained.
She gave him a grateful smile, “Oh, I’ve had my moments, believe me, but prayed for a positive attitude and God is answering my prayers. It really helped when I let go of all my anxiety and decided to trust Him completely.”
I shared my own similar journey and when I left their table, it was like we were old friends, though we knew we wouldn’t see each other again. As it turns out, that wasn’t really the case.
On the last day, while having a late breakfast, a young teen boy plopped himself and his back-back down opposite me, glowering. He was clearly having a bad day.
I smiled at him. “Girl trouble or parents?” I waited, but he wasn’t having any of it, so I went back to my business. When I looked up, his mother was sitting at the table, praying over her food.
“I’m praying too,” I nodded toward her son. She opened up about her son’s ADHD diagnosis and that she had taken his phone away.
We must have talked for over an hour. Because I have ADHD and studied it in depth, she asked many questions and was grateful to get another slant on it. We also shared some personal stuff in our conversation. Each of us had a tearful moment and offered reassuring comfort.
As I got up from my table, I heard my name again. There at the next table was Janet with her wonderful smile. I went over to her, and hugged her shoulders. “We will see each other again, you know.”
“You better believe it.” she said, and squeezed my arm.
We met a Christian gal from South Africa while returning from Belize on a cutter. She signed a contract with Carnival and had only been doing it for two weeks. She had many surprises, especially at how much drinking went on among the staff. We shared our faith with her, which she appreciated. I also had dinner with Bradley, an entertainer on the pool stage, and we had a lot in common. Later he sang a song he’d written to Charlene and me about our journey.
I got on an elevator to join Charlene at the comedy show, something we both enjoyed, when a young man asked me to hold it. He slurred his words and he held a drink in his hand. “Going to the comedy show?” I asked.
“No,” I don’t appreciate people who are skinny making fun of those who aren’t”
I sensed his hurt. “Oh, you’re the sensitive type, aren’t you.”
He did a double take. “Yes, as a matter of fact. I guess I am. How did you know?”
“Well, in my line of work it pays to understand people. “I’m a retired pastor.”
He asked the question they always ask, “What church?”
“I’m not big on labels, so Christian,” I replied, “But if you hold a gun to my head I’d have to admit I was Presbyterian.”
We chuckled and I added, “I guess you probably are a creative guy, right?”
“Got me again. An artist” The elevator dinged and opened to my floor. When he followed me out, I took the opportunity of briefly sharing my hope in Christ. We walked and talked awhile until he looked around. “I’m on the wrong floor.”
“Maybe you needed to be,” I suggested.
He nodded and headed back to the elevator.
Cruisin’, snoozin and definitely shmoozin.” It’s fun being a Christian.
Hope you liked my account of vacationing with Jesus. Please add your comment/