I read a story a few weeks ago about a woman who made a unique decision as to how she wished to live out her life. She and her husband were married for 43 years and the thing they enjoyed most was going on cruises together. They went on several cruises every year once they were both retired.
Her husband died in 2008. She was 76 at the time and not sure what she wanted to do next without him. But after pondering on it for a while, she made a decision. Since her greatest joy was sharing those cruise experiences with her husband, she decided to relive that joy every day.
She approached their favorite cruise line and made an inquiry: what would it take for them to allow her to live on the cruise ship? Say again?? Yes, that’s right. I would like to live on the cruise ship. I am selling my house and all the stuff I don’t need. I don’t really need much room. After all, the only thing you really do in your room on a cruise ship is sleep and bathe; you don’t need much room for that.
In her mind, having all her meals taken care of for life, having numerous opportunities for exercise and entertainment, and having a seemingly endless number of new friends to make sounded like a splendid way to live.
No such request had ever been made, but this cruise line made the decision to allow it. For $160,000 per year, she now has permanent residence in the same room on an enormous cruise ship. As you might imagine she is something of a celebrity for the crew, and they treat her like she was their own mom.
And by the way, she couldn’t be happier.
What is it that brings joy to you? Real joy? One of the things I recall from my studies in psychology is that most people live in one of two ways: they either live in such a way to avoid the things that lead to pain OR they actively move toward those things that bring them joy. Our time on this small, cosmic orb is brief. Do you believe God has placed us here for a reason other than living this life to its fullest? To find joy in all things, both large and small and to share that joy every chance we get?
So I ask again: what is it that brings you genuine joy? Do you know? If not, today is a good day to name it. And if you can’t name it, embark on a journey of discovery. In the movie The Shawshank Redemption, the character Andy Dufresne has been wrongly convicted of murdering his wife. He spends decades in prison with the knowledge that he is paying for a crime he didn’t commit. One day he decides he’s had enough. He will attempt an escape. The risk now seems worth the try. As far as he’s concerned, the worst thing that can happen to him is that he ends up right back where he currently is.
It is at this moment of decision that he speaks with his good friend “Red”. With the decision firmly made in his mind, he leans over to Red and says, “It really comes down to this: get busy living or get busy dying.”
Jesus once said, “I have come so that they might have life and have it in abundance.” Are you living an “abundant” life?