Disconcerting Contrast

3 Oct

Photo by Ray Hosler

 A perfect setting for prayer–on a cruise ship far out in the Caribbean Sea. Even in the midst of peaceful travel with fellow believers, things can happen that are a bit disconcerting.

We were sailing along at dinner time on the Royal Caribbean’s Enchantment of the Seas. There was a lot of good joy and laughter – eighteen of us on a retreat cruise and most of us long-time friends.

Suddenly, near our tables, there was a big commotion. A man was suffering a seizure. The registered nurse in our group rushed over to help. An alarm sounded. The ship’s medical staff arrived on the scene. Waiters immediately went into action placing a curtain of table cloths around the man and the ship’s medical staff.

All of us in this section of the dining room were subdued into a respectful silence. Some lips moved in private prayer.

Then, in two adjoining areas of the dining room, came the booming voices of several off-key waiters as they moved from table-to-table singing “Happy Birthday” to this or that passenger.

I found this to be a disconcerting contrast. The emergency alarm had been audible throughout the dining area. Did they not hear it? Why sing joyfully while there was a human life hanging in the balance?

Whatever the reason, that man’s sad plight, along with his wife’s tearful presence, deserved more respect.

Also, that man is us. We are one people. What happens to one of us is important to all. That’s the way God created us – to be one with him and with one another.

“You shall be my people and I will be your God” (Jer 30:22).

“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:34).

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2 Responses to “Disconcerting Contrast”

  1. margekut@comcast.net October 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Dear Henry, Were you cruising this last weekend?  I thought that I would see you at the Orlando Catholic Charismatic Conference.  If you were there, I missed you. 

       About your contrast.  I would have been very perplexed had I been the ill man’s wife.  More prayer is needed, especially when a brother is down,  In Jesus, Marge

    • Henry Libersat October 4, 2013 at 12:51 am #

      Yes, I was on cruise — a retreat cruise, slow paced, filled with joy, laughter and prayer.

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