Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why One Cruise Is Enough

My mother-in-law is an awesome lady. She decided that for her 75th birthday present, she would take all of her family on a cruise to Alaska. Because I am married to her daughter Susan, I got to go, as did our four kids, our daughter-in-law, and our grandkids. We were joined by all the cousins. 19 of us total. A 7 day cruise from Seattle to Juneau to Glacier Bay to Sitka to Ketchikan to Victoria. It was awesome in so many ways. I loved cruising. The dining room experience was like being royalty every night. There was no end to the discovery of the boat. The Indonesian and Filipino wait staff were awesome, the best, salt of the earth kind of people.

But one cruise is enough. I won't need to ever go on another.

Because cruises cater to the "I'm the center of the universe" nonsense that the Enlightenment injected into life 250 years ago. People elbow and push their way to the front of lines to get exactly what they feel they must have in the short order cook line. No one much pays attention to anyone around them, so preoccupied as they are with getting to where they desire to be. People gain a lot of weight because the food they don't need but crave anyway is everywhere all the time. Everything centers on "me." It's a consumer's paradise.

And it's hard to watch, and to see it creeping into oneself.

Or to put it another way, as a friend said years ago about the Bay Area of California, "everything's so special that, in the end, nothing is special."

It's funny, how wonderful routine and normal life is. It's in the normal and routine, I think, that we most learn what is really real, and discover that God is best found and understood in the common and ordinary as opposed to that which caters to one's selfish side. Humility is always the occasion of the holy.