I woke to the drift of the balmy sea. I’d waited 25 years for an anniversary cruise with my husband, and so my rested body jumped eagerly out of bed before the suns rays pounced on the cabin window.
No lunches to pack. No searching for missing football socks. No scrambling to make the school bus. No,no,no. This day was all about me, mee, meee. Yipeee! Oh and Jerry, too.
I headed to the bathroom to prepare for our first adventure on a tropical island. Of course, I left the light off, giving my honey a few more moments to slumber.
You know in horror movies how you can sense a scary moment looming with mood music and a dark tumultuous scene? And you know how you just want to yell “TURN THE LIGHT ON DUMMY!” and forewarn the innocent victim of impending danger… well, there was none of that.
I marched unknowingly into the miniature bathroom, grabbed my toothbrush, and began brushing my pearly whites with vigor. A few seconds into my regimen the verse from Revelation 3:16 rang true to my taste buds, “…I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Waaaaay out! I flicked on the light to see a tube of ICY HOT returned to the toothpaste cup. Horrors!!! At that moment I could only assume I rubbed my legs down with toothpaste in the middle of the night.
My tongue was like a lit match. I was one icy-hot mess! Now, since I don’t make a habit of brushing with Icy Hot. And because my mouth was on fire, I started mouthing muffled toothbrush sounds hoping my husband would investigate. He did.
He asked questions I couldn’t answer with a numb tongue. In between rinsing, I declared in foamy manner, “I bwuthed my theeth with Ithee Hot???” For a few brief seconds Jerry refrained from laughing. Obviously, he didn’t get the “all about me” memo I thought I sent out before we departed.
While he stood in the doorway, he professed remorse. And I could tell—through his laugh induced tears—that he was “thruly” sorry. You see, it had been his job to unpack the health and beauty supplies. Too bad he unpacked them in the wrong places.
Then, before I left the tiny cubicle (a cruise ship’s version of a bathroom), I realized I had dropped several tear-filled Kleenex on the floor. When I stooped down to pick them up, however, my bottom-end met the squatty-potty (a cruise ship’s version of a toilet), with such force it was unparallel to any wedgie I’d ever experienced. My lower back ached with pain. It looked like I would need the toothpaste again that night.
With the early morning events, it became very clear the trip was all about me. Yes indeed! All about me killing myself before my toes ever tickled the
When we stopped at Tortola to take one of our fantastic excursions, I faintly recall the guide warning to watch the tide, that there were no life guards on duty, and some muffling noise about staying away from the dangerous rocks, but my mind was already splashing in the water. On the way down the trail my husband and I could hardly hold ourselves back from an all-out run to the shore.
With no kids underfoot, both of us were eager to have fun. The day was beautiful, not a cloud in the sky. The waves rolled in blue like bubbling whipping cream as people played in the surf between two heaps of massive rock.
We couldn’t wait to get in the water. When we did the temperature was a perfect 85 degrees on a 95 degree day. Finally, we swam out to the invisible barrier that drew a line between the rocks edge and then relaxed and doggy paddled. Ahhh.
Not long into my lounging though I felt a tug on my body, noticing the tide felt a little extra sucky that day. Sucky like when the end of the vacuum hose doesn’t want to let go of my daughter’s extra fluffy sock. That kind of suction. And one look at my husband’s face confirmed my thoughts. We were definitely being pulled out…way out.
I don’t know how much time went by because time seems to blur when you’re in a panic, but I remember waving at people standing on the beach. Then, I remembered there was no lifeguard. That’s when I saw Jerry heading for the rocks.
Now, one thing I am is a rule follower! Even in my fright, I remember the warnings about the rocks. “Stay away” was all I heard in my head to the beat of my own heart pounding. But through the noise and the water plummeting over my head, I saw Jerry hanging onto a rock and yelling for me to swim over. There comes a point in every person’s life they succumb to something greater than themselves. I did. I went for the rock!
Twenty-five years ago I clung to another Rock and asked Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Savior. Gods forgiveness was gracious that day. Because I think it’s pretty clear if left to my own will and selfish ambitions there is a good chance (a very good chance) I wouldn’t survive. Me, me, oh, my!
So, I am praising God for yet another day that He saved me from myself. My wanting to control, my need for comfort, my less than self-less motivations; all like an undertow, slow and unobtrusive at first, but able to carry me places I surely don’t want to go. So I cling to the Rock, cling to faith, and trust that I am “thruly” “thruly” loved.
Going on a Cruise? Remember to Pack these Essentials:
- Icy Hot-In a jar marked with a glow in the dark “X.”
- Toothpaste- Large tube for all those aches and pains.
- Watch- One that tells the correct time so you don’t run late catching a taxi and almost miss the boat.
- Extra clothes- In case you miss the boat.
- Extra cash (preferably $1 bills.)- Because the taxi drivers on
St. Luciadon’t take credit cards.
- Juicy Fruit gum- To pay the taxi driver just in case you forget to bring enough cash. And just in case you are curious, if you forget your wallet it takes two packs of Juicy Fruit, an apple, $3 and a very gracious taxi driver to get to the beach on
St. Lucia. But I’m just guessing. Really. Smile.
Beth Duewel is a freelance writer and speaker living in