More Than a Vacation

I’ve just returned from a wonderful cruise to the Caribbean with three close friends.

The time with my girlfriends was precious. We laughed. Basked in the sun. Laughed. Savored the delicious food. Laughed. Enjoyed each other’s company. Danced. Shopped. And I did I mention that we laughed? A lot.

But, what made these ten days more than a vacation were the people we met…

A couple who were assigned to sit with us each evening during the formal dinner hour...

I would never have guessed their age to be seventy-six. Both are attractive people who dress young, but tastefully. A couple who are in shape, active, and enjoy spending time with not only their five children and families, but also with each other. These highly educated people who have led, and continue to lead interesting lives, brought stimulating conversation to the dinner table. They inspired me to be like them.

The cruise staff who serve tirelessly, but always with a smile...

People who work on cruise ships come from all over the world, so there is an opportunity to learn from them if you take the time to show interest. One such young man from the Philippines served us many times at one of the coffee and assorted drinks bar. Every day we’d joke around with him, but on the last evening, when few people were in need of his attention, we learned more. He works fifteen hours a day on the ship for ten months at a time. Then he's given two months to return to the Philippines to spend time with his family. Married and the father of three young children, it was clear that it pained him to be away from them. But, he did what he felt necessary to take care of them. The cruise staff showed me what it means to have a servant’s heart.

The mother of two small boys on my flight from Atlanta to Seattle...

While waiting to board the plane and take the five hour flight, I observed a young woman with her five and seven-year-old sons. They sat on the floor, too close to people standing in preparation to board. Her blue undergarment showed through the thin white T-shirt and a large tattoo was clearly displaced on her lower back. She spoke with a raspy voice and a southern accent. The plane was large, but her seat was almost directly across from me. During the flight she shared with another passenger, loud enough for many to hear, that she was leaving her family in Florida and going to Alaska so that she could work at a higher paying job. A single mother of four children – two other children had been left with their respective fathers – she wanted to provide a better life for her kids than what she could in Florida. I admired her for her spunk and willingness to leave all that she knew behind. She taught me to not judge.

It was more than a vacation.
It was a lesson on life.



  1. Dawn, this is such a great post. Thanks for sharing your perspective with humility and grace. I appreciate your "voice" in your posts very much.


  2. Thanks, Annette!


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