The agent who appoints cruise ship chaplains called today and asked whether I might want to back out of the ‘round the world voyage coming up in a few weeks. It seems the cruise line had just informed him they could not guarantee the same stateroom would be reserved for chaplains throughout the trip, as is the usual case on shorter cruises. “Back out,” I thought to myself, “you’ve got to be kidding!”
It looks like we’ll be asked to move to new digs periodically, depending on the passenger census for each leg of the journey, (there are seven two-week segments on a world cruise). That could mean almost anything: occupying below-the-waterline crew quarters. or moving into an officer’s room, or, perhaps, even being ensconced in a high-deck suite!
“Understood,” I told the agent, “but we don’t see this as a reason to change our plans. The name of the game here, is flexibility!” He seemed relieved to hear my response. “You said it, reverend,” he responded. “It’s all part of the adventure!” It strikes me that traveling, like so many things in life, very much requires that you stay flexible and welcome change. It’s a matter of looking for and finding the fun and the opportunity that unpredictable, unavoidable circumstances present. It’s called making the best of life, a phrase I like a lot. It’s also called ‘acceptance,’ a spiritual discipline that, over the years I’ve tried to cultivate.
I’ve learned the hard way that when there is simply nothing you can do about what life unexpectedly hands you, whether it’s good or bad, reacting against it and trying to resist the inevitable change gains you nothing but grief and unhappiness. It’s far better to embrace the challenge, examine it, and see what good, what, perhaps, of God there might be in it.
I’ve included an image of our beautiful Maine coon cat, Diana the Huntress, with this post. Her makeup includes more operational flexibility and easy opportunism than that of any creature I know. I’m always learning from her and will miss her dearly when we’re off around the world seeking new opportunities and trying to keep flexible!