I’ve only been on one cruise and it was miserable.
Years ago my parents invited our whole family for a short cruise to the Bahamas to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
We boarded—excited!—in sunny Florida. It was a huge ship: people and swimming pools and elevators everywhere. All-day free ice cream and activities to do.
But unfortunately we cruised into a storm. Bad weather meant all plans were cancelled.
Most of the time we circled out in the ocean, locked-down, waiting for the storm to abate.
I remember rolling on the bottom bunk in our tiny room, cold, dizzy and disappointed, not one whit interested in the ramped up entertainment nor the extravaganzas in the restaurants.
I just wanted to get off that boat.
And when we did, as we walked on our wobbly sea legs through the parking lot, my dear dad said sadly, “Well, we got through that.”
Yes, we did. We got through.
And it seemed like a waste.
These COVID-19 days are unimaginable days, life has stopped, plans are cancelled; this grievous storm is 1000x worse than the one on our cruise.
I, with everyone around this earth, am waiting, praying for this crisis to end.
Here in North Carolina we’ve got at least three more weeks of confinement.
I don’t want to waste this time.
This is Easter week.
I’ve been looking at what Jesus did during his last week on earth, and was surprised to find a new story about Mary and Martha.
I know them from the time Jesus went to dinner at their house and Martha, The Server, was rebuked for her hustling and fussing. Mary, The Listener, was commended for sitting at Jesus’ feet.
“Just one thing is needed, Mary has chosen what is better . . .”
I also know them from the story of their brother Lazarus dying and Jesus weeping and bringing him back to life.
Mary and Martha were special friends of Jesus; I am happy to find another story about them.*
The week before he died, Jesus was in Bethany at a feast at Simon’s house. Lazarus was seated at the table, Martha, again, was serving, and Mary, again, was near Jesus.
Mary broke a jar of precious perfume and poured it all on Jesus’ feet and head.
The fragrance went throughout the house.
“What a waste!” the others complained.
But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”
Perhaps Mary, The Listener, was the only one who anticipated Jesus’ death and burial and in spite of her grief, Mary used her perfume to show her love.
To worship Him.
Jesus said, “Wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Getting through these hard days, like some of you, I am looking for ways to distract me from the dire news, to help with my sadness and to get the time to pass: Being with grandchildren, listening to podcasts, trying new recipes, taking long walks, facetiming friends and family, organizing and cleaning the house, etcetcetc.
I naturally Martha my way through. Keep busy. Serve others. This is good.
But I want to be Mary, too.
In spite of the grief, I want to listen and worship Jesus.
Lord, help me to not waste these days.
Help me grow stronger in knowing You, quicker in trusting You, deeper in loving You and others.
You are my only hope in life and death.
May the fragrance of Your gospel go throughout this whole world.
*This story is found in Matthew 26, Mark 14, John 12