***(Read to the end for a give-away!)***

“Open my eyes [to spiritual truth] so that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18 AMP).

On our recent family vacation, an eastern Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, God was good to reveal His creative nature in the beauty–and humor–of His world.

In short, He answered this prayer proclaimed in the Psalms as we enjoyed fair weather, good food, and memorable family excursions (one in particular).

Several of these lessons stood out, three of which I shared previously, in “Part 1” of Wonders of God’s Word. 

So, without further ado–

4th (and final) Lesson–Swimming with Pigs!

Indeed, it’s an actual thing, and, I might add, one of the more popular excursions while we visited Royal Caribbean’s private island, Cocoa Cay.

In truth, I hadn’t planned on donning a bathing suit to swim with swine, but–surprise of surprises–my presence was needed.

We’d signed our kids up for this outing, but our daughter and niece were scheduled for a later time than our older sons and their gals. What we’d failed to realize was Allie and Emma were too young to go without adult supervision. Thus, I switched gears and, lathering on the sunscreen, heard myself mutter, “You only live once.”

A short skiff trip later, and we were greeted by pigs of various sizes and colors. Each had a name, and the friendly excursion guides knew them all, calling them like a teacher reading the roll on the first day of school. And, like the teacher, the pigs loved the apples the guides tossed in their direction.

Introductions were made and pictures snapped–our particular pig, a large male named Big Red. We were then given several instructions.

“First, don’t pull the pigs’ tails or ears. They don’t like it, and doing so might lead to bodily injury.”


“Second, stay either on the dock, on the beach, or in the water. No wandering away where our naughty pigs might lurk.”

(Again, yikes!)

“Third…” the guide’s voice took on a serious tone, “And this one’s very important.” He cleared his throat before continuing. “Though we encourage you to pet the pigs, give ’em a good scratch, let’s say, on their backs, don’t–no matter what–hold your hand in front of their faces. Like this…”

Taking a small child, the guide demonstrated. “Son, pretend you’re a piggy.” Holding out his hand, he continued by wiggling his phalanges in the boy’s face. “Do this and the pigs will think you’re trying to feed them apples, and we don’t want anyone losing fingers.”

The tot’s eyes were wide as saucers, worry written in the lines of his furrowed brow. Personally, I wondered if he’d been scarred for life.

And in truth, I, too, had concerns. Stories about pigs devouring humans, bones and all–if one was ill-fated enough to fall in a pigpen–flooded my memory, and I shivered. The words I’d muttered earlier, You only live once, turned to a prayer–

“Help me live, Lord!”

I must say, in that moment, I found myself taking comfort in the island’s promise, It’s a perfect day in Cocoa Cay. At least my family had a case should I perish at the hooves of pigs, sue for false advertising, for example.

Leaning toward my daughter and niece, I attempted to lighten the mood. “Hear that! Don’t hold your hand in front of Wilbur’s face.”

My reference to the beloved E.B. White’s children’s book made the girls snicker, Then, looking at Big Red, who’d sidled just a little too close for comfort, I whispered, “Some pig,” which I hoped he’d taken as a compliment!

Dismissed, our trio made our way to the beach. Already, there were people waist-deep in the turquoise water, pigs swimming among them with excursion guides snapping pictures. It was in that moment, I thought, Surely these pigs wouldn’t be so rude as to potty in the pool.

A photographer’s “Say cheese,” interrupted my pondering, and I heard him continue, “Cinnamon, you too,” and a spice-named swine looked in the camera’s direction, caught the apple chunk tossed his way, then, no kidding, seemed to smile.

After the girls and I had our pig-picture taken, we exited the water to stand in line for the next photo-op. This one was popular–an opportunity to pose with piglets.

Several minutes later, it was our turn. We were each given a tiny pig to hold, and the sleepy creatures rested in the crook of our arms as the photographer captured the moment.

I knew purchasing the pictures would cost us, but how often does one get to hold a piglet while wearing a bathing suit in the blazing Caribbean sun?

Needless to say, this experience reminded me of the passage from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

“Do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may… turn and tear you to pieces” (Matthew 7:6 NIV).

And while I know Jesus’s meaning was much different than this stretch of an interpretation, I’m a firm believer that, while God loves us…

He doesn’t honor stupidity.

Thus, I’m left praising Him today–thankful I’m here to type these words, all my fingers still intact.

That is all.

Lord, thank you for having a sense of humor and for making pigs–especially swine named, “Sausage!” Thank you for your protection and for showers and soap. Amen!

For fun, I’m offering a give-away. It’s my friend Wendy Hinote Lanier’s children’s picture book Too Many Pigs in the Pool. 

Simply offer a comment–telling your favorite quote from Charlotte’s Web, for example, or sharing your preferred pork recipe… anything “PIG” related!

I’ll draw a name from those who participate next Wednesday, August 30th.

Good luck!

And for your viewing pleasure–this piece of “art” discovered under our dining table on board Wonder of the Seas. It’s by the late great artist Sir Chris P. Bacon, who was especially astute at creating “fork” art.