My cousin and best friend growing up was widowed suddenly several years ago. She and her sweet husband had been planning a cruise for the following year. After he died, she didn’t want to do one thing that they had planned together – except for this trip. She asked if I’d like to go and of course I said yes.
It was a great adventure and included the opportunity to stand a few feet from – and gaze upon (as my Daddy would say) – Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son,” hanging in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Our itinerary included a stay in England, half a dozen other countries, countless cities along the Baltic Sea, palaces, and other sights to make this Tennessee kid’s head spin.
But seeing this painting was the only thing I had put on the list. And viewing it was incredible – no question. I’ll never forget it. But you know what I remember more often from this voyage? It was a message that came out of the ceiling every morning.
Our evenings were pretty consistent. Like our fellow travelers, she and I would socialize the night away, then find our stateroom and our pillows as our ship continued to steam through the darkness. First thing every morning, a bell would ring and the loudspeaker over the bed would activate. And then our Captain would say, with conviction, “Good morning! Today we are exactly where we ought to be.”
I believed then – and I still believe – that, wherever we are in our journey, that reassurance is about the most comforting thing that any of us can hear. Today, I hope we are all exactly where we ought to be.