The Musings 34
Read: Psalms 90
Going on a vacation is a dream project for every family. The vacation becomes more and more memorable when the place that you travel is exotic or when vacation is all about travelling in a luxury liner. Vacationing in a cruise ship is now becoming a hot spot among all the people all over the world. Last year it is believed that a more than three million people have gone on cruise vacation. But with the recent experiences of travelers on vacation on the cruise ship Carnival Triumph turning extremely painful, ugly and sore, people are having a second thoughts whether to go again on a cruise ship. The tragedy of Carnival Triumph is what is being discussed now as the first law suit has been filed by a Texan woman. A cruise ship with more than 3000 passengers and 1000 crews began its journey on February 7th. People from all walks of life and of different ages were together on this ship to celebrate different occasion or just to enjoy the vacation. There was couple who got married on the ship, a group of friends who wanted to enjoy their graduation, others who wanted to get away from the stress and strain of life. But suddenly in a day the celebrations turns into a nightmare. Because of an outbreak of fire in the engine room, the basic facilities like heater, air-conditioning and the sewage system almost became non functional. Soon the ship is driven by the waves and tides and the ship became a floating ship, rudderless. It took five days before the ship could be tugged back to the port and the passengers could finally heave a sigh of relief, each one recounting the horror that they had to undergo on board of the so called cruise ship. The woman who had filed the suit has described the cruise ship as a floating toilet. This was because sewage was running all over the ship, passengers being asked to use plastic bags instead of toilets or restroom, sweltering temperatures, lack of power, hot water and then finally to stand in line for more than three hours to get food and that too cold sandwiches. I think as people are now safely resting in the confines of their home, they would want to just forget about one of the most horrendous experiences of their life. You begin a cruise journey to enjoy, with people looking forward to experience of fun, games and unlimited eating, spa, casino and what not. But out of the jolt comes an experience where irrespective whether you are rich or poor, young or old, you realize that you have to bear every experience under the sun. You are suddenly in a midst of a life experience where for even meeting your basic needs, you have to fight it out, and fighting and struggling for food, space and fresh air, those aspects that people do not even think about in the mundane experiences of life. Food, water, air and space suddenly became the most essential commodity in the ship. I think as I read the experiences of people on board of the cruise ship, it teaches us a lot of lessons. Lessons not only about vacationing in a cruise ship but also certain truths about life which we should take seriously, truths that could strike us at any phase of our life. When we are able to discern those truth daily in our life, then I think we will be more ready to face the crisis and challenges of life more bravely and in faith.
One of the most beautiful passages that teaches some painful but eternal truths about life is seen in Psalms 90. This is a psalm that is ascribed to Moses, someone who went through everything in life. He had gone through ups and down in life. He had the privilege to lead a luxurious life in the Pharaoh's court but in an unexpected turn of events he leads a life of a wanderer. A life lived with fellowship of his people, life lived with people thanking him for his leadership and at the same time people turning their back on the leader even for the slightest of crisis. Moses had seen all these things in life, he has experienced every bit of pain and suffering, but finally he lived it all. Now out of his experience he recounts the painful but eternal truths that he has learned in life. Psalms 90 is full of eternal truths, but there are few truths that stands out and that needs to be emphasized in life especially at this time of lent. The first and the most eternal truth is the nature of God. He has been the shelter, the rock the fortress and eternal dwelling place. This is a statement of faith of Moses, who has experienced the faithfulness of God in every life experience. In life, when you go through the most unexpected events and suffering in life, the only aspect that is eternal and unchanging is the presence and eternal support of God. This can be seen in every experience not only in life but also in past events of history and in one's life.[ Psalms 90: 1,2]. Just as Moses expressed his faith, it is important for all of us also to express our faith through the lessons that we have learnt through the different experiences that we have gone through life, experiences that revealed the nature and character of God. Another important aspect that Moses learns in his life, is the brevity of life. Life is very brief, it is like the grass that springs in the morning but dries and withers by evening [ Psalms 90: 6]. It is this brevity of life, that helps us to value things in life that we often taken for granted. Those thing in life like relationships, food, air, the space that we all have...so many things that we don't even thank God for. Forgetting about thanking God, we don't think about these things. People who went through horrific experience on Carnival Triumph surely have learnt that things like air, food, toilets, space are precious commodity and I think we also need to affirm all these things as essential, to be taken seriously and never to be taken for granted. Lent is all about not taking things for granted but ascribing value to even to the most simple things in life.
Rev. Dr. Joe Joseph Kuruvilla