I’m excited! Have you ever been so excited about a vacation that you could not eat or sleep? Well, that’s me… at least on the sleep part. You see, I’m getting ready to go on a cruise.
Now, I have been on cruises before and for the most part they have been very enjoyable. In fact, most of the time I could say that going on a cruise is one of the best investments a person can make. I do not want to downplay any of my friends in the hospitality business, but I have often thought that taking a cruise is the best vacation for the dollar a person could choose.
My bride and I have experienced that on several occasions, and we are getting ready to do it again. But the anticipation of another one has only brought back a lot of, quite frankly, hilarious memories of past cruises – one in particular. We had flown to New York City to take a cruise to the northern Canadian coast. It was the middle of July, but the air was rather cool, and promised to get cooler.
Our cabin was on the very top deck and in the front of the ship. In fact, we had a cabin with a window facing the bow of the ship, with a deck just outside. The deck was accessible to multiple cabins though, so it was not quite a private deck. That was fine with us, until one morning we were awakened by a very loud and at the time horrifying sound. It seems that one of our neighbors had also checked out that deck and determined that it would be a great place to practice his bagpipes. What a rude awakening we got that morning. Now, to be quite honest it wasn’t that early, but it still was quite frightening.
But Mr. Bagpipes was not the only surprise on that cruise. Because our cabin was at the very top and the very front of the ship, it provided us with an excellent view when the gigantic cruise liner passed smoothly under the Verrazano Narrows bridge in New York Harbor. It did not look like we were going to make it, but it seemed like a miracle when we did with 3 feet to spare. We had a spectacular view of that miracle.
Then as we traveled up the New England coast on that trip, we experienced some of the densest fog I believe I have ever seen. Looking out our window, we could not see the rail on the front side of that deck, let alone the front of the ship. It was then that we discovered another of the ship’s distinct qualities installed for just such a time as this — foghorns! And wouldn’t you know it, they were right outside our window. What’s more, they were loud. Very loud. And because of the density of the fog, they were blaring loudly very often. Needless to say, we did not stay in our cabin very long or very often.
Perhaps the funniest incident in our cruise lives also occurred on that trip. We had decided to take an excursion in one of the ports and simply tour the city. We gathered at the appropriate spot and were introduced to our guide, a grandmotherly sort of woman who was humorously dressed up like a little leprechaun. She took us throughout the city and the harbor next to it. Oh, and we were in a “Duck”, an amphibious tour vehicle that could maneuver in either water or land. The tour went great until we came to a stop.
We were now in dense fog in this area of the city. But our guide seemed oblivious to the fog. She was very intently sharing about the history of the community and then begged us to “look to our right out the right side of the bus” where we were to see a beautiful and very historic castle, which she then began to describe in all its wonder and majesty. But when we looked out the right side of the bus, there was no… well, we don’t know if there was a castle there or not. The fog was so dense we could barely see the edge of the road, let alone anything further out. But our guide was so intense on describing this castle that she continued for another five minutes telling us all about the history and the significance of this beautiful place. And five minutes looking into a dense fog seems like an eternity.
You know, as excited as I am about the upcoming cruise, I also know it will pale in comparison to the tour of heaven that we who know the Lord will receive when we get there. Check out Revelation 21:1-5 for starters. And our view will not be distorted by fog. Read the rest of Revelation 21 clear through 22:1-5 to finish the tour. The point is that God has a great plan for you and for me, but it is only offered to those who know Him now and are trusting Him for their eternity. Are you? Or are you stuck in a fog?
Chuck Tabor is a religion columnist for The Times-Gazette and a former Hillsboro area pastor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.