Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t know a lot of people who went on Caribbean cruises but when I moved to the Houston area it seemed like everyone “cruised.” I added “Take Alaskan Cruise” to my bucket list.
I suggested to two friends and their husbands that we should cruise to Alaska for our 5thwedding anniversaries. I suggested an anniversary trip because I thought it was more likely to happen then just saying, “Let’s go for no reason.” Everyone was in.
Then reality hit.
At year 5, I had a newborn. We moved it to our 10-year anniversary.
At year 10, one of my friends was living overseas and the other had a newborn. We decided to shoot for our 15-year anniversary.
At year 15, one friend was still overseas, the other had four little kids and no one to leave them with for a week. My hubby and I had teenagers we didn’t want to leave for a week and had just built a house so our vacay travel money was a big fat ZERO.
We decided to shoot for year 20. Not sure what happened that year but the trip was moved out to our 25th anniversary year.
At year 25, one friend had teenagers. Need I say more? Not if you’ve had a houseful of teenagers.
The other friend was back in the states and ready to go. Me too!!!
My friend and I started making plans. Well, she’s the particular researcher so she figured out all the details and I said, “That sounds like a plan.” A date was picked, a deposit was made and soon we set sail for Alaska. Twenty-five years later.
The first night of the cruise after dinner we made our way to the lounge where they did a trivia game and then the dancing began. Our men made it to the twenty-five year mark by not being idiots so they spun us around the dance floor a time or two. The music changed and we made our way to some seats and ordered some drinks.
A lady next to my friend and I said, “I saw you two dancing and it looked like fun.”
“Why don’t you dance,” my friend asked. The lady explained she was single, retired and was on the trip with another single, retired friend.
“Well, you can dance with us,” my friend suggested.
“I can’t leave my purse and my friend isn’t here yet,” she replied.
“Our husbands will hold your purse for you,” we responded.
She looked leery but we convinced her. We stood up and thrust her purse at our husbands and said, “Here, hold this. She’s going to go dance with us. And if her friend shows up, tell her you will hold her purse too.”
The guys thought we were kidding until the three of us started making our way to the dance floor. I looked back and both men wore an expression on their faces that said, “What just happened?” as my friend’s husband sat clutching a large purse.
The three of us owned the dance floor! We did all the hand motions to YMCA while shouting the words, mastered the Macarena and electrified with the Electric Slide. When the friend showed up, we motioned wildly for her to give her purse to our husbands and join us. She did. The dance party continued and a new cruise friend was made.
The next night at dinner our new friends wanted to make sure they got a picture with the “Dancing Queen” gals. We obliged. They told us they never would’ve danced if we hadn’t encouraged them – and made our husbands hold their purses. They went on and on about how much fun they had.
Sometimes, all the person around you needs is a little bit of encouragement or a kind word. My friend is great about including others. I love that about her. It was such a simple thing for us to say, “Come. Join us.” It was a big thing for the retired teacher to let loose a little and shake her groove thing with her friend.
I often get so caught up in the urgency of life that I am not always aware of those around me who might need encouragement. But I want to be.
And I never want to grow too old to get on the dance floor and take others with me.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Note: I had to use a stock photo because neither my friend nor I can find any pictures we took. All I have is a video of a whale breaching. We were really “in the moment” or bad at organizing our digital pics. Could be both.