On the steps of the grand staircase of the main dining room aboard the Grandeur of the Seas cruise ship is a statue of a woman dressed as if stepping out of the roaring 20’s. Artfully attired in chic elegance, the bronze beauty appears as a symbol of sophistication and class.
During my first evening meal as her guest, I began to think about Downton Abbey—”a British historical period drama television series set in the early 20th century,” a seeming contrast between the lives of the wealthy and the lives of those in service to them.
I’ll admit I felt a bit ashamed. What right did I have to enjoy this vacation? Was I really deserving of the luxuries this sculpture represented? What brought on this crisis of conscious?
After having a lengthy and meaningful conversation with Fathul, our assistant waiter, at breakfast the next morning, I wondered if the burnished figurine might represent something far more significant than temporary affluence and fame.
Fathul explained how he had signed a contract to work for six and a half months aboard the ship, with two months off at the end of that time period when he will return to Indonesia for a brief respite with his family.
He went on to say he left home because his father was ill and unable to work. “I’ll work, Papa,” he humbly expressed as he described leaving a wife and one-year-old daughter behind. Modern technology allows him to facetime with his family regularly after his 11-hour shifts—five in the morning with a lunch break and six in the evening.
Later, in a quiet and reflective mood, I watched as men and women from 50 different countries contentedly worked in one accord with honor, dignity, and great joy.
Hmmm . . . the effigy of worldliness began to turn my thinking upside down. What was I thinking? That the employees were marginalized and that I was somehow better than them? Good grief! How presumptuous and arrogant!
The next evening, Ramraj, our waiter (from Mauritius), said:
“I believe in God. I don’t always go to temple or church, but I work hard and that is my prayer to God.”
WOW, could I really say the same? That my life is a prayer to God?
Colossians 3:17 says it this way:
That is, everything you do or say, do in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
I had never seen Christ so clearly then at that very moment!
With my serving of humble pie, for the remainder of the cruise I gave thanks for the vastness of God’s mercy, grace and love so evident in His glorious creation and in His beautiful children.
Thank you, Ramraj.
*A special thank you to my Soul Sister, Minta, for suggesting the statue as the image for this post.