I just returned from my first cruise vacation. We didn’t do the multi-island, 2-week experience; we kept it simple. Manhattan to Bermuda and back. My mother turned sixty this year, and in celebration she brought her family together for a week-long party. Unfortunately, we discovered that they don’t allow expecting mothers on the boat if they are more than 24 weeks pregnant, and my wife and I are due in June. She wanted me to take our daughter nonetheless, so I was a “single dad” for a week. As much as I knew I would feel my wife’s absence, I was looking forward to some quality time with my daughter.
I’ve never experienced such a “mindless” vacation experience. In years past, we’ve vacationed in Florida, and split our time between relaxation and visiting friends (big ups to Ill-Day!) Once, we went to Puerto Rico and split our time between visiting my wife’s extended family and a hotel resort. These vacations require planning and aren’t consistently tranquil, as there’s typically a lot of running around and scheduling involved.
Being on a cruise ship, I soon recognized the appeal. It’s mindless. You wake up when you feel like it, and you go find some food. “Find” isn’t accurate, to be truthful, as you really can’t MISS the abundance of food. Just reach out your arm, and there’s some food. Several all-inclusive restaurants, an all-hours gourmet cafeteria, and snack bars are plentiful. Additionally, each day the cruise planners keep you as occupied as you desire. Movies, magic shows, hot-tubs, swimming pools, water slides, an arcade, shopping, karaoke, and more are all within a five minute walk from your room. Amazing. No need to map out the day. Just wake up and take it from there. I was thrilled and more than willing to shut off my brain for a week.
I enjoyed my intimate time with my four-year-old daughter. I spoiled her rotten. Each day I posed the question: “What do you want to do?” Her choice. Each night, we ordered room service and watch cartoons until we fell asleep. No bedtime because we simply slumbered each morning until we were ready to wake up. What a life.
Four nights into our excursion my daughter said, “Daddy, do you miss Mommy?”
“Yes, I do. How about you?” I stated.
“Yes, I miss her. I hope she can come next time,” she said.
Then the question of all questions:
“Daddy,” she said, “do you miss Jesus?”
Wow. Vacation indeed. I grabbed my bible and we read several stories together. Four days into our trip, and we had yet to crack the Word. I know the analogy is simple, but God doesn’t want us to fit Him into our day-to-day schedule as a task on a checklist. He wants to be the center of our existence, with every other component stemming from Him. No extraordinary circumstances should hinder us. When times are tough and when times feel like smooth-sailing, our time and focus on Him needs to stay the same.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (New International Version)
16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.