Today is our last day at sea before we arrive in Europe. As I told you the first day, this has been my sabbatical. It has been a precious time of thinking, writing, praying and reading. There were several days that I didn’t even venture out of my room (except for coffee) until late afternoon. It has been marvelous and I thank you for journeying with me.
The sea is like glass today. So smooth. I’m fighting sadness that this part of my journey is over. I have loved the sea days!
Tomorrow starts the vacation part of the trip. We dock in Portugal at 10 am. I’m taking a shore excursion, but I couldn’t tell you right now what we are doing! Anyway, I won’t be writing as much. But probably will have to post at least one more time to give you a trip update!
Thank you so much for all the kind messages and emails about yesterday’s post. I absolutely loved hearing from those who are traveling this road. Some that contacted me I have never met, but they were referred to the blog by a friend.
I have a couple of interesting ship stories as I get into today’s post. First of all…an update on the knitting club. As I walked through today, I realized that the elderly gent that was knitting with the hot pick yarn had finished his project….a hot pink beer cozy! Shows that some things aren’t always what they seem!
I had an interesting encounter yesterday with Aisha in the spa. She is the nail tech that gave me a manicure. She is a beautiful young woman from Jamaica. When she found out I was traveling alone she said, “I need to learn to be comfortable being alone.” Sort of a theme for me from yesterday, right? This opened the door for her to share her story with me. When she found out I was a Christian, she told me she was, too, and asked me to pray for her. “I will,” I said. “What will you pray?” she asked. I said, “I will pray for wisdom and guidance for you.” She smiled and thanked me. As I left I gave her the name of the blog and told her to read the post on aloneness. I encouraged her to realize that by having Christ in her heart she was never alone. It was definitely a divine appointment. And Aisha…if you are reading this today, I did pray for you about the things we talked about!
Okay. To the main story of the day. This is how I know the Lord has a sense of humor with me.
Somehow because of the time change I managed to miss all the eating times yesterday. There was food available, but I decided to just wait and go to dinner. It was formal night and they always have good food on formal night in the dining room. I am doing the select dining, which means I can show up whenever and eat, just will have a different table each time. I told the Maitre’d that I was fine sharing a table. I assumed I would be at a large table with several couples. But when he seated me, I was seated at a table for two with a woman named Kathleen.
Kathleen is 68 years old and has been a widow for 14 years. She is from Texas. Makes wedding cakes. She travels a lot, always by herself. All was going well with our dinner. Conversation was light. I hadn’t brought up anything about my faith. Then she started telling me the story of her inner god that directs her and speaks to her. She is a member of the Unity church, and is a hypnotherapist and herbalist. She told me that when her husband died (an oil man in Texas) she knew he had money hidden, and her inner god had told her that she needed to write the Pope for papal intervention. She did. She didn’t hear back from the Pope. Then she told me that her inner god told her to take this trip on this ship and she would find her husband’s money in Venice. So she’s taking a train around Italy , ending up in Venice with the belief that when she gets there her inner god will instruct her as to what to do. She also told me that she had a dream about a white book with gold letters, and was told that the contents of the book were going to be dispersed to her over the next few years. Sort of a cosmic download.
She talked about conversations that she has had with her dead husband.
You need to realize that Kathleen is a very attractive, well spoken, intelligent woman. She doesn’t come across as some sort of weirdo.
This was my first experience with someone who is truly immersed in New Age thinking. She spoke of Jesus, but only in the context that he taught what the prophets of all the other religions taught. To love people. (Yes. I see the irony from my earlier post this week). She told me that her instruction to come on this trip had come from Romans 23. I thought, hmmm…I need to read that. Yeah. Romans only has 16 chapters.
Of course I spoke of my faith, and she completely agreed with it. Acted as though we were talking about the same thing. Remember this is a formal dinner. 5 courses. Lasted 2 hours. A very LONG 2 hours. She tried to talk me into staying in Rome and going on the train trip with her. I politely declined.
She told me she believed it was ordained that we sit together last night. Me too, but for probably different reasons than her.
Here’s the thing…as I have thought about the Kathleen conversation, I was reminded how important it is that we know what we believe. So many of the things that she said were just slightly off. Many of them were way off, but she said them with such fervor that it made you want to hear more.
I thought about my own life. I have had some intense encounters with the Lord. Intense prayer times where I know I heard his voice. I have had dreams that I believe came from him. But last night’s dinner reminded me that these things are very, very personal to the believer. If I try to tell them to someone else it would come across as craziness. And could hurt the cause of the Kingdom.
As I think about Kathleen and her piecemealed, cafeteria style, pseudo religion, I am reminded of the words of Christ in Matthew 7:13-15:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”
Guard your heart. Know what you believe and why. Always be ready to give an account for the cause of Christ. Study everyday. Seek out truth. As Paul says in Ephesians 6 –
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Ephesians 6:13-18 (NLT)
Blessings, my friends!