Adventures Getting To and From Paradise

Back in 2016 I wrote about flying to Hawaii in January during Storm Jonahs’s record-breaking Snowmeggedon. Despite the terrible weather, Alan and I commuted safely from Michigan to Hawaii. In fact, up until this past trip two weeks ago, Alan and I had never been late for embarkation (or even a tea party) on any cruise, and so we cavalierly assumed the best and made our reservations to minimize any loss of work time for Alan.I might have had an inkling of things to come when I finished packing and had a conversation that went something like this:

(Lord): Did you consult me about how to pack?
(Me, sheepishly): No. 😦  That was dumb. How should I have packed?
(Lord): You should have packed in carry-ons only.
(Me, rather reluctantly): Okay! I will. Thanks for letting me know. I pared stuff down to just the basics. We had trouble both getting down to sunny San Juan and getting home, but it wasn’t until our return flights that I understood the real reason why it was important to pack light. We left during the worst weather of this winter, and our United Airline flight from GR to Chicago got cancelled, then rescheduled through Newark, NJ, but at a time too late to make the ship. In a panic, we called our travel agent, who helped us find different flights via Delta that would go through Atlanta and hopefully get us to San Juan, Puerto Rico, in time to board the ship. Gratefully, we clambered aboard the Delta flight. However, the airport didn’t have enough machines to de-ice all the airplanes that needed protection from the severely below zero weather, so by the time our plane was ready to go, we knew we’d never get to Atlanta in time to catch our connecting flight. 😦Our travel agent had gone home by the time we arrived, but a supervisor went to bat for us and found another flight to San Juan, although it didn’t get in until about midnight (four hours after our ship had sailed away that starry night)!Believe it or not, because we’d bought our flights in a package with the cruise, the cruise line (Celebrity) not only paid for our flights but put us up at a hotel during the wee hours so we could get a little sleep before catching an early morning flight to connect with the ship at the next port of call.The flight from San Juan to St. Croix the next morning was beautiful! Alan said it was all worth the bother because it made our trip so memorable! I wasn’t so sure, but hey—doesn’t he have wonderful attitudes?!In retrospect, Alan and I both agreed that this Southern Caribbean cruise was one of the most relaxing vacations we can remember! It was “just what the doctor needed” and a fantastic way to celebrate our 46th anniversary! We slept in every morning, enjoyed delicious breakfasts in the open air on the back deck of the ship, had leisurely devotional times together reading our Bibles, praying, sharing, thinking . . . we even read through an excellent book called Doing Life with Your Adult Children, which gave us a lot of good food for thought.  On top of all that, there was a new jewel of an island to explore every morning (11 ports in 12 days!), and no tenders to contend with (where you have to wait to be ferried to the island), so we could hop off and on the ship whenever we felt like it. The weather was absolutely gorgeous: in the low 80°s every day with a light breeze and warm water. It really did seem like a little taste of paradise, and our only “guilt” was knowing that back home 140,000 friends and relatives in GR were out of power and enduring ice storms and blizzards!  😦               We wished we could transport everyone down to be with us!!  🙂 The return trip home was if anything even more harried, not due to weather, but do to the fact that when we didn’t take our first United flight to Newark, United cancelled ALL our flights, both coming and going. We didn’t know that we should have called to ask them to retain our return trip flights. United had sold our tickets to others and were already overbooked by 5 people! They could get us on standby or at 2:00 am the next morning. Another emergency cry for help went out to our travel agency, who found us 2 seats on a Jet Blue flight that was already in process of boarding. We literally ran from our terminal to theirs in order to make it before they closed the doors. It was too late to check any luggage, BUT, because we had only carry-on luggage, they let us buy tickets and board! Whew!!The rest of the trip was relatively calm, and I had time to reflect on God’s quiet question to me as I packed: “Did you consult me about how to pack?” It was just a still, small voice, the way the Lord usually speaks. Probably if I hadn’t packed so light, I would still have gotten home at some point, but not that day, and not without a lot more hassle! I am so thankful that the Lord invites us to ask Him for wisdom. We have no clue what tomorrow (or even today) will hold, but He does.  If you haven’t invited Him into your thoughts and plans, may I encourage you to pray and ask God to become your God?! There is no One like Him! He knows the end from the beginning, and He is good to those who put their trust in Him. He alone is worthy of being our Savior, our Lord, and our God!

Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me” (Isaiah 45:21).