My travel started with a strange race against a snowstorm that had me sitting in an airport before dawn with a straw hat that looked comical as I went through security.
But the cruise started with a kiss.
My roommate and I were looking for a place we could sit down to eat lunch on the sunny Lido Deck, when I heard a voice like velvet say my name.
I turned, and a pair of soft hands touched me and I felt a gentle kiss on my cheek, and as the owner of those hands pulled back, she said, “I’m Crimson Rambler.”
It felt like a sacrament, a visible sign of God’s invisible grace*, a touch of heaven in the middle of earthly chaos, as an Anglican priest from the wilds of Canada met a UCC pastor from the not-so-wilds of Maine for the first time, already knowing and loving one another.
The whole week felt this way, as I sailed off into the Gulf of Mexico with 37 other women ranging in age from late twenties to middle 60s-ish and every decade in between. We worshiped and sang “Dona Nobis Pacem” — seriously, gals, LP wants to know, how is this song not familiar to everyone? — and also karaoke (but really, I left early, so I’m only surmising) and managed to celebrate communion next door to a disco and worked on our knitting and gave each other gifts, some of them things you could hold and measure, others as real though not as material.
I discovered I know a person who knows the words to “Funky Cold Medina,” which it’s probably just as well I still don’t know. (She shall remain nameless.)
I laughed and cried and went back to the place with the best guacamole on the planet, so fresh I think they picked the avocado and mashed it while we were sitting there.
I heard a lot of great ideas for RevGalBlogPals, got myself into the sort of panic a kindergarten mom feels about sending her baby to 1st grade, then cooled off about it, a little.
I contemplated an idea for a book, but I suspect I’m already doing the kind of writing that is my calling.
And I came home full of ideas for the next one, BE 5, sometime in 2012.
I once said to my friend, Mary Beth, and I included in this all of the women who have worked from the beginning to give life to a little idea called RevGalBlogPals, “We made a thing, and it’s awesome!”
I truly feel this way and give thanks for the chance to be part of this sign of God’s love for women in ministry and the people who love and support them.
(*Please note that definition is the Revised Songbird Version.)