It was one of the most memorable and joyous days of my life. I had waited years for this day; to take a trip with my only daughter, Andrea. I extended other “gifts” for trips, but one year ago today, was “the day” and my heart was filled with “joy beyond measure.”
I have openly shared about my admiration of Chuck Swindoll’s teachings and this was an opportunity I desired to participate in; his Alaskan cruise in celebration of his Insight for Living Ministries 40th year anniversary. The destination was not as important to me as being with Andrea, while also enjoying Chuck’s instruction and fellowship with other Christians for the next week.
Even though I visited Alaska the previous year on a land trip, I understood the cruise would provide a different perspective in this area of our country filled with God’s beauty of vast wilderness, water, mountains, and wildlife. Because this was my first cruise, this was an adventure for both Andrea and I, as we experienced some of the amendments of cruise traveling.
This was a smaller ship than other cruise ships, as it routinely hosts Christian groups spending time together with music and teaching of the Lord. Therefore, the entertainment and shopping were more limited, but Andrea and I were not there to be entertained or shop. Our “gifts” were with the wonderful people we met during our trip.
Andrea’s “gift” has lingered as she has maintained friendships with some of them, enjoying personal visits with one another. Andrea and I had been aboard the ship less than two hours when we met some of these “friends” we would share the week with.
Another “gift” was the opportunity to view God’s splendid creatures, whales while on an excursion. They were more than cooperative to be the center of attention, as they danced on display to all the “ooh’s and ah’s” of the spectators. Also, our country’s exquisite eagles soared toward the heavens reminding all of us of God’s magnificence.
Like the countless fellow tourists, we trekked in and out of the “look alike, money pit” villages. Andrea and I located a few “must take home” presents for others. A blessing of each day was dining at the table with the friends where we had been assigned. As we shared with one another what adventures we had experienced or what “must have’s” we purchased, another highlight was gathering again that evening for the special events Chuck had planned for each of us.
At the end of each day, my delight was knowing I was with my beautiful daughter. On the final night of our trip, Andrea gave me a gift which has lingered for an entire year. She said “Mom, your smile has never left your face.” I cried, for the exultation of that week was a gift no amount of money could purchase. I trust this trip with Andrea, wasn’t the last or only, but it was filled with treasures which have filled my memory and heart countless times. Psalm 96:11 NKJ, Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad; Let the sea roar, and all its’ fullness.”