My husband and I went on our first cruise when we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. We planned that trip for almost a full year. Our cruise was in April of that year and we were going to Hawaii with some friends of ours. We had neighbors also going on their first cruise in June of that same year, they were going on a Caribbean cruise. When we got back, my neighbor friend, Dee couldn’t wait to talk to me, she wanted to hear ALL about our trip. I went on and on, I couldn’t say enough great things about our experience, from the food, to the excursions, activities and sights we saw on the islands. I said, over and over that my husband, Rick and I couldn’t pick one favorite thing, we loved it ALL! Dee had a sister that also went on her first cruise about a week after we did, so she was anxious to hear from her as well.
I saw Dee outside the next week and she said, “I am really bummed”. I asked her, “why’s that?“ She said, “well, I just talked to my sister about her trip and she didn’t have near as good of an experience as you all did on your cruise. Now I am worried about some of things that could go wrong on ours.” I said, “like what type things?” She listed a few things, nothing major. I started smiling half way through the list and by the end of the list of mishaps I was grinning ear to ear, shaking my head. She said, “what?” I said “ok, I may have left a few things out about our trip… did I mention after 11 hours on 2 different planes with a total of about 15 hours of travel, they dropped us off at the wrong hotel. Our hotel ended up being just a few blocks away, so when we ask for a shuttle they looked at us like we were crazy, and encouraged us to just walk. So, with each of us pulling a large suit case, carry-on bags, camera bags and whatever else you have on a 11-day vacation, we walked on a surface that for the most part wasn’t flat or smooth to the correct hotel. We got checked in, which was now close to 9:00 pm Hawaiian time, so to our bodies it was 1:00 am. We were tired and hadn’t eaten for hours, so we walked over to Denny’s, the only place open, to get a snack. I slept for a little over 3 hours that first night and was wide awake, because it was 2:30 am in Hawaii but to me it was 6:30 am. The latest I slept the whole trip was 3:00 am, so I was wiped every night by 9:00 pm. My luggage was lost the first evening of the cruise, everyone else had theirs, but mine didn’t show up until after dinner. I was in shorts, had no clothes to change into and therefore couldn’t eat in the nicer dining room that first night. Our only full day at sea, I had my first ever massage (which was amazing!) but they somehow lost me for over an hour. They said they didn’t know I was there, after they had given me a robe to change into and had me sit in this designated area to relax while I waited for my turn. It made me so late getting back, that our friends went onto dinner without us” …I laughed and said “do you want me to go on?” I went onto say, “those are not the things I will remember about this trip. To go on any vacation with the expectation that nothing will go wrong is setting yourself up for failure or disappointment. This was an absolutely amazing trip and when I look back on everything we got to do and see, it totally outweighs those few little things that went wrong throughout the trip”. Dee was smiling, she totally got it. Her sister hadn’t even had as many mishaps on her trip as we had on ours but she was giving those things a lot more energy than how wonderful her trip was as well.
This doesn’t just apply to vacations, when something bad or negative happens, learn what you can from it and move on quickly! Play in your mind over and over the good and wonderful experiences you have had and share those with others! What we focus on or give the most energy to, the good or the bad, is often what we remember best later down the road.
In Philippians 4:8-9 (MSG) Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.