Lifejacket #9

Will Your Lifejacket Float You to Shore?

“So you were probably seasick on the ocean,” is the way my old neighbor Ed, dismissed the news that we had just returned from a cruise to Alaska. “Stuck on a boat for seven days with a bunch of strangers, must have been great fun!” scoffed Ed. “Why would you spend money to look at glaciers, whales, and bald eagles?” he asked.  I assured him it wasn’t because I like to waste money, and that there is no explanation for what we do.

I told Ed that people on our cruise had an opportunity to fish, kayak, pan for gold, and fly in seaplanes, and helicopters, and more. They could also explore Juneau, Haines, and Ketchikan as well as, get up close and personal with the Daws Glacier. What got Ed interested was the size of the cruise ship; 785 feet in length, 106 feet wide and a weight of 63,000 tons. The fuel consumption for diesel generators was about 85 gallons per mile depending on the speed. Its maximum speed was 21.5 knots.

My old neighbor does not like being where no one knows his name. He felt 1539 guests and 602 crew on our ship was way too many strangers to deal with in one week. He wanted to know if the boat had enough lifeboat space to save everyone, and would only a lifejacket float them to safety? I said that our lifeboat was # 9, and it was good we did not have to get in it. No one wants to evacuate a sinking ship.

Talk at one supper was that a passenger had a heart attack in a dance class on board the ship, and had to be flown away to a hospital when the ship landed at Ketchikan. People do get sick on cruise ships and die at sea as well as on land. Death is a fact of life that we ignore until it becomes up close and personal. When the death of our loved ones happens, we grieve and are forced to remake our life without them,  that is our deceased loved one.

In the Bible, death forced a woman to say good-bye to her son, at a town named, Nain.  She left her city gate with her only son’s body being carried in a funeral procession to his burial. Her husband was already dead, and she was crying hopelessly, in anguish. As she was exiting the city gate, Jesus arrived there with his disciples and saw the funeral procession and understood her grief. His heart went out to her, and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went and touched the coffin and those carrying it stopped. He said,”Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus returned him to his mother. Her hopeless grief turned to limitless joy.

The large crowd from the town present for the funeral procession were all filled with awe. They said, “A great prophet has appeared among us. God has come to help his people.” The fame of Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding area. It was the fame of Jesus’ graciousness. He freely gave more than the mother and son could have hoped to receive.

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Raymond Maher
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