|Me, Martha, Kim, & Amanda|
Are you wondering why I chose the odd title for this post? "Classica" was the name of the ship I was on. I have other names for it, but will spare you, since there may be small children listening. ;) It was an Italian cruise line called Costa Crociere' "Crociere" is pronounced "krow-chee-air-eh." We made the first "o" sound short and ended at "ch"...maybe that will help you know what we (I and my 3 friends from the cast) called it. And, might I add, it was an accurate name.
Ok, so enough of my sarcasm and bitterness.
A detail that must be mentioned is that the original itinerary of Italy, Greece, and Croatia was changed before we boarded the ship. Because of the war going on in Kosovo at the time, the ship was relocated to the west side of Italy, thus changing our ports to Italy (Genoa, Naples, and Palermo), Tunisia, Spain (Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona), and France (Marseilles).My passport was delayed in coming, so when it came time for us to fly to Italy, I couldn't go (should've been a sign). The entire cast left and I spent two days alone in Florida...one of them was spent driving from Orlando to Miami so I could pick up my passport myself.
When I arrived at the airport in Italy, no one was there to meet me, and it seemed no one knew I was coming. Speaking zero Italian, I attempted to find someone to help me. After much fumbling through languages with a random airport worker assisting me out of his own kind heart, I finally had a ride to the ship. I had no idea who the driver was. Just some guy with a mini-station wagon (for lack of a better description...all Italian vehicles are miniature). He zipped me along the highways and roads of Genoa, drove me right onto the dock where the ship was, and dropped me off at the gangway. Thank God he wasn't some American-abducting weirdo!
Exhausted and jet-lagged, I was rushed to my room to drop off my luggage and then dragged to the theater where rehearsals were already underway. Of course, I met with a warm welcome from the cast. JUST KIDDING! At least, my 3 friends (Kim, Martha, and Amanda) were happy to see me.
I have so many terrible memories of this experience that I rarely talk about it in-depth. So, this must be a sort-of therapy for me. It has been the one event of my life where I honestly don't know why in the world I was put in such strange circumstances. I have an incredibly difficult time finding the "good" in the whole thing, or really any purpose. Romans 8:28 leaves me in a curious place. I trust that God has a reason for everything, and have resigned myself to the realization that I may never know in this lifetime why I ended up on that ship, or that I may discover it sometime in my life...as I suppose much of my life still lies ahead of me, Lord willing. But, still, it is a huge unknown in my earthly existence. I often think I just made a massive mistake and maybe wanted something so bad that I jumped at the very first opportunity that came my way.
There were many nights where I would find myself on the top deck of the ship, alone, looking out over the black and dark Mediterranean as the moon reflected a streak headed straight toward me, warm wind whipping all around. And I wondered if God knew I was there.
Did He know how betrayed and attacked I was?
Did He know how hated I was?
Did He lose me?I knew He cared...even though I never felt it. But, I did feel a whole lot like He lost track of me. ...a whole lot like I got on an airplane, traveled halfway around the world, and somewhere in the shuffle, like losing luggage at a layover, He lost me.
Of course, I know God doesn't lose any of us. He is omniscient and omnipresent. But, I felt very much like He was no where to be found. There wasn't a single Christian on the ship and as I wandered the streets of Italy, Spain, and France and passed dozens of churches, it seemed God wasn't there, either. (Since writing this post, I have had some encouragement from the Lord, please read about it here.)
(Read more of this story.)