It has been almost two weeks since I returned from a fantastic spring break adventure with my number one girl. We cruised out of Long Beach to Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas and had a most excellent time. She is a pretty cool travel buddy! If you haven’t met her – you are missing out.
Before our trip, I expected to have a lot of fun with my girl.
I expected to see beautiful parts of God’s world.
I expected to enjoy relaxing with a good book on the deck of the boat.
What I did not expect was to find an amazing group of diverse people who would feel like family by the end of the week.
I did not expect “table 432.”
You might be wondering. “what in the world is table 432?”
I will try to explain, knowing that my words and descriptions will probably fall short.
Table 432 was the table Kenzie and I were assigned to for dinner each night in the dining room. On the first night, there was just one other couple at our table that had chairs for ten. So, we had fun getting to know Jeanette and Adam from Vancouver that night. And we all wondered where the rest of our table mates were. We had no idea what we were in for.
The next night our group of four was joined by Heather and Teresa – friends from Iowa; Sherry, Barbara, and Maya – three generations from Los Angeles; and Karla and Desi – friends from San Diego. We went from four to eleven and never looked back.
It was truly amazing how quickly we all seemed to feel comfortable with each other. We met for breakfast many mornings, went on adventures in Puerto Vallarta together, enjoyed afternoon tea, and spent time getting to know each other. One night a few of us sat on the deck until almost 2am just sharing a little bit about our lives and learning what we had in common. Each personality was unique. Each personality had something to offer.
I could write a paragraph about each of these people God brought into my life but I am going to go with the first word that comes to mind.
Jeanette – kind
Adam – welcoming
Desi – generous
Karla – adventurous
Barbara – wise
Sherry (Barbara’s daughter) – joyful
Maya (Sherry’s daughter) – energetic
Heather – witty
Teresa – friendly
There are some other fun things about these people – like Karla owns a SLOTH!!! Sherry and Heather have both worked with juveniles that are in the “system.” Maya and Teresa love to dance. Adam loves to organize (he was our personal cruise director), and Jeanette teaches primary school. Sherry has an infectious giggle; Barbara goes by Nonna (NOT Nana) to her many grands and great grands (might even be some great great grandchildren); and Desi is very hospitable. I mean we played 2 truths and a lie with these people.
After just 5-6 days with these people, this is what I know about them. I am sure if I had Kenzie on the phone right now she would have fun things to add. This random group of strangers thrown together by Amith, the maitre’d of the Gold Pearl Dining Room, ended up being our little cruise family for the week. (Okay, I believe we were thrown together by the providence of God who used Amith in this way).
Would we have been friends if we had met in different circumstances? Maybe. If we would have filled out questionnaires (like colleges have for roommate assignments), I don’t know if we would have been matched with this group. I am not sure if we see eye to eye on politics, and I know we have some varying religious views. But, I also know that this was the very table at which we were meant to be. These were the people we were supposed to meet. Our experience was richer because of each of them. And, I have new friends I look forward to seeing again because of table 432.
This experience reminded me of the importance to always look at the people God brings across my path with His eyes – as people created in His image.
It reminded me of the joy in experiencing life WITH others rather than in isolation.
It reminded me of how it is worth it to be vulnerable with others and open up our lives and hearts to them.
So, look around your world. Is there a “table 432” where God has placed you? If so, I would love to hear about it.