Trip of a Lifetime
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2a NLT).
Honestly, I wasn’t certain our trip with my parents, particularly to celebrate Momma’s 80th birthday, would transpire.
She’d been battling some minor health issues, mysterious symptoms that no one quite understands.
Nothing too extreme, just an overall blah that drains her at times, keeps her home more.
When we invited them to join us for this bucket list trip—a New England / Canadian coastline cruise—way back last March, these nagging issues hadn’t begun.
But, over the last six months, we’d wondered—
Will it actually happen?
And then, on top of Mom’s health, just prior to our departure—
Devastation in Israel,
The sort that makes one think,
“Is the world coming to an end?”
All this weighed heavy, and I found myself, quite honestly, feeling a bit anxious,
Not to mention, being torn—
As though, because there was so much human suffering, one shouldn’t travel, especially for pleasure.
The day drew nearer, and we continued pressing forward with our plans. Mom, too, felt good. Finally, the day arrived. We flew to New York and enjoyed an evening out.
The next morning when we were to board our cruise ship, Liberty of the Seas, Momma had an episode where her blood pressure apparently dropped, leaving her dizzy and light-headed.
Through tears, we prayed, asking the Lord to heal her, to comfort her, and keep her in His care.
Again, I wondered–
Is this a sign? Are we not supposed to go?
Or is there a reason Mom and Dad aren’t supposed to be on this trip?
My pleading inquiries were sent up left and right, making my head spin. (I’m so thankful God can handle what seems to me more like chaotic questioning than earnest petitioning.)
But I’m a believer.
There’s power in prayer, no matter how it’s prayed.
If nothing else…
Praying brings peace.
Thankfully, within minutes, Momma was much better, and…
We were off.
The cruise took us first to Boston where we visited Lexington, Concord, and Cambridge—even “getting in “to Harvard (at least for a quick look, though through pouring rain).
Louisa May Alcott’s home, Orchard House, was still beautiful, despite seeing it only in passing through our tour bus window.
Then we were on to Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine.
We ate delicious lobster rolls, clam chowder, and fish and chips—not to mention the best blueberry pie I’ve ever tasted!
Bill and I rode bikes through Acadia National Park, seeing lots of beaver dams, fall foliage, and beautiful bodies of water.
Next, we traveled north to Nova Scotia, arriving in Halifax on a bright blue morning.
With my parents, we visited the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, the resting place of hundreds who’d lost their lives when the Titanic sunk.
Particularly poignant was the grave to an “Unknown Child”—the headstone decorated with mementoes visitors leave behind.
Interestingly, this child was later identified. Sidney Leslie Goodwin wasn’t even two when the ship went down, his little body the 4th to be discovered in those cold Atlantic waters in April 1912.
From there, on to Peggy’s Cove, an authentic lobster and fishing community.
I also learned this small town is only 45 minutes from where my favorite folk artist Maude Lewis once lived, where she sold her paintings from the little house she shared with husband Everett.
(If you haven’t seen the movie Maudie, you should!)
The beauty of this coastal community truly took my breath away. The locals were friendly and helpful, and our visit there was like stepping back in time.
We took a bus tour, too, to St. Martins where we shopped, had ice cream, and enjoyed another lobster lunch at the town’s local Canadian Legion—paying honor to those who sacrificed for others’ freedom.
Sadly, this visit to the Bay of Fundy was just one day after a shooter killed 18 in Lewiston, Maine, only thirty minutes from where we’d been in Portland several days prior.
More heaviness in our world.
More heaviness in our hearts.
But one thing struck me as we listened to our knowledgeable tour guide.
He said the Bay of Fundy means—
Bay of “deep waters.”
The unique tides there, scientific details less understood by me than what I found to be unique symbolism, make the waters in and around St. Martins rise and fall drastically.
At times, they’re very shallow, while at others, very, very deep.
And the take away, at least for me?
This sweet reminder from God’s Word, from the prophet Isaiah.
Yes, I’d been anxious prior to the trip.
Yes, we’d at times worried my parents wouldn’t end up joining us, even as late as our day of departure.
Yes, I’d battled mixed emotions regarding the state of our world.
But the truth is–
No matter what…
No matter where we are…
No matter what circumstances we may face…
When we go through deep waters, we are never alone.
God is always, always with us.
I am so very thankful we were able to take this much dreamed about trip with Mom and Dad.
We even ended with a day in NYC—seeing the Statue of Liberty on the anniversary of her dedication 137 years ago—October 28, 1886.
More, Bill and I had the privilege of visiting with friends Colin and Rachel Britton (who’s a fellow writer) over a yummy lunch, and…
Momma sure is worth celebrating, and I can’t thank you enough for your prayers, well-wishes, kind words, and affirmations to and for her, in celebration of her 80th spin around the sun!
Blessed beyond measure…
And so full of beautiful memories!
Thank you, Kind Father–Creator of our beautiful world. This trip, despite all life’s sorrows, sicknesses, and stressors, was a gift we will forever treasure. A foretaste of heaven, that’s what this was! Oh, and thank you for the gift of Momma–for her 80 years of living and loving. She’s done it beautifully, and I know, one day (though I pray it’s far from now) You will say to her, “Well done, my good and faithful daughter.” We give you praise, sweet Savior, for the gift she is to us and to many. Amen.