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Don’t Cruise Ship it

Back in August, my husband and I had the amazing opportunity to take a cruise to the Bahamas. Five amazing nights and six scrumptious days of no alarms, no screaming, no crying, and no having to chase after children. Just peace. As a mother of five children, the idea of having that amount of time uninterrupted with my main man, is almost unheard…I lie….it is absolutely unheard of. I was so excited I could not stand it! In almost every conversation I had with anyone leading up to our cruise I somehow managed to leak my cruise into it.

 

Oh, no ma’am, we will have to schedule your session for the following week- I’ll be in the Bahamas this upcoming week…. Yikes, the kids won’t make that birthday party. Jarvis and I will be on a cruise that week…… I’ll have four of those kid meals with extra Polynesian sauce. The name is Victoria, who is going to the Bahamas next week…..

 

You get the idea. I was excited. I love being with my husband, traveling with my husband, and going new places with him. Exploring the world is one of the most memorable times we had when we were dating. But honestly, I think I was more excited about the beautiful ocean and waters we were about to see. Being on a beach, lake, heck fifteen feet from a murky little pond brings me so much peace and joy. It always has. Let me go camping and be able to crack my tent open to see soft ripples of the lake before me and I am one happy camper (did you see what I did there). I can sit looking off into water for hours if given the chance. I can’t actually prove it, but I am sure the Disney movie Mona was actually about me. Give or take a few details.

 

Then the time had arrived! I remember I could barely stop bouncing in our rental car on the drive to the docking port I was so geeked up. This was going to be the most life-changing vacation we ever had together, I just knew it. Taking my husband to see the sights of Chicago when we only had one child was one thing. Eating our way through the culinary melting pot of New Orleans when we only had three kids was another thing. But cruising to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas when we were knee deep in homeschooling five children was definitely going to be a life-changing thing!!

 

Before I could even blink, it was over, and I was back in another rental headed back home to see my babies whom I had missed terribly. Over the next few days, I chatted with friends and coworkers about all that we had done. I told them about the massive buffets on-board, the rainy weather we had (by God’s grace we were merely two days ahead of the infamous Dorian that ripped most of the islands apart shortly after our trip), and the hilarious comedy club on board. Then, slowly but surely, my conversations started making note of the greasy foods and long lines, the fact that my husband wanted to stay at the comedy club past 8pm one night when I was clearly tired and we got into an argument, to how our excursions were all canceled due to the weather. The more I shared about my life-changing opportunity, the more complaining I began doing. The room was too small. The drinks were incredibly expensive. There was a bridal party on board that was too loud. There were too many kids in the pool when we went.

 

And finally, a few weeks and several negative conversations later, it hit me- hard. I had missed it. I had built myself up for weeks (okay, months) for this chance to have an adventure and I missed it. I was too busy complaining about money (money we had specifically saved to spend on this trip), too busy rolling my eyes at our plans being changed due to a silly storm (that turned into a deadly hurricane that destroyed so many lives), and fussing with my husband. And as I pondered over how stupid I had been, the saddest blow finally settled in. Not once during that entire trip did I ever get up, walk outside on the ship, and watch the sunrise over the ocean that I love so much.

 

Why does any of this matter now? Because right now your home might be experiencing what so many other homes are experiencing during this pandemic of Covid-19. Circumstances are constantly changing, the future is very blurry, people keep buying all the tissue before you make it to the store, and your family can only go to work and home. Our churches are closed, schools are out, places that help make our lives easier and more convenient are closing down one by one, and the kids are “bored” all the time.

 

Trust me, I completely understand and I get it. I have five kids all sulking in my house as we speak. However, I beg of you, do not be like me. Do not overlook this season for what it really could be. Please, despite everything that is going wrong, do not walk through this season angry, fearful, pessimistic, and aggravated the entire time. Jesus was incredibly great at making the most out of every moment, every season, and every situation. Scripture after scripture, you find our Savior never missing a beat to lean into whatever He encountered and using it for the Kingdom of God. I missed that opportunity on that cruise. I missed the chance to really lean into alone time with my husband that I had been craving for months and months, I missed the chance to explore a new land with a grateful heart despite some rain, but most of all, I missed such a beautiful time of worship I could have had (alone without the fear of a child waking up) looking over the vast oceans that He created.

 

Covid-19 sucks. It is not a situation I think anyone actually wants to happen or would choose to live through again. But while you are here, how can you make the most of this time with your spouse? How can you lean into this time with your children who actually do miss seeing you when you are usually so rushed by everyday life? Who can you call and check in on that you haven’t been able to in a long time? What projects have you been really wanting to do but never had time to before? Or, how much more could you sit quietly before the One who made you, growing more in His love as you learn more about who He is in a more intimate way than you ever have before?

 

Whatever this season looks like for you friend, lean into it. Be in it. Sit in it. Dig in it. Whatever you do, just don’t cruise ship it.

 

Peace, love, and strength

 

Victoria Wilson

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