Good things happen in three’s.  That’s what my Mom told me a long time a long time ago.  And so today, I affirm that lesson I learned as a child with the following three stories which warm my heart:

Life’s a Cruise for Cancer Survivor, Lyn Burdon

Lyn Burdon - Life's A Cruise - Cancer SurvivorCancer is a bitch.  Anyone who has lost a family member, spouse, or friend knows what I am talking about.  But if you beat cancer, life is just about the most wonderful thing that can happen to a person.  And you don’t have to come back and win the Tour de France either to believe what I am saying.

A story in the Australian website, the Cairns Post, introduces us to Ms. Lyn Burdon. Twelve years ago, Ms. Burdon was battling breast cancer. Sitting in a chemo chair, she "was thinking to myself, well my sons have grown up and my husband has died, what do I do with the rest of my life?" 

She feared that she would never fulfill her dream of going on a cruise. 

Well, the Cairns Post tells us that Ms. Burdon, age 62, having beaten cancer, just stepped off her ninth cruise ship.  Ms. Burdon "credits her cancer with giving her a new lease on life, helping her gain the strength and courage to buy an eatery business in Earlville, take up dancing lessons and of course, venture out into the wide world."

Ms. Burdon is the face of the "Cairns Relay for Life," which is an annual fund raising event hosted by the Cancer Council of Queensland, Australia. So far, Ms. Burdon and her charity has raised raise nearly $49,000.  Please click on the website and consider contributing.

Well done, Ms. Burdon!  Cruise on!

P.S. send us a postcard . . .

Thanks to the Cairns Post for such a great story.

Generosity Knows No Bounds for Carnival Cruise Passengers, John and Marilyn Detwiler

The turmoil and tragedy in Haiti are overwhelming.  We can all debate whether some of the billion dollar cruise lines are making half-ass moves that seem calculated to promote their own corporate image rather than making a difference helping Haitians in this time of crisis.  But out of the cynicism and hopelessness comes a story like this.

The Gettysburgs Times tells us of the story of Haitian crew member Daniel Joseph who was working as a cabin attendant on a Carnival cruise ship when disaster struck his country on January 12th.

John and Marilyn Detwiler - Daniel Joseph - Carnival Cruise - HaitiEarlier, Mr. Joseph had met John and Marilyn Detwiler of Pennsylvania during a cruise last November.  Both Mr. Joseph and the Detwilers are members of Church of God. 

When the Detwilers learned that Mr. Joseph’s home in Haiti was destroyed, they invited him and his wife, Macula, and daughter, Maclaure, 7, to stay with them.  The Joseph family somehow traveled from the destruction of Port au Prince to Santo Domingo  to Fort Lauderdale to Cincinati and finally to Pennsylvania, by the end of January. 

The Gettysburg Times reports that the Detwilers obtained school materials for Mr. Joseph’s daughter so she can be home schooled and they are helping Ms. Joseph obtain a green card so she can work.  Meanwhile Mr. Joseph, who has worked for Carnival for 13 years, will be returning to work on a Carnival cruise ship in April.

Mr. Joseph remains concerned about his parents and other relatives in Haiti.  Contributions may be sent to Church of God, 233 Carlisle St., New Oxford, PA 17350.

Well done Mr. and Ms. Detwiler!

And thanks to the Gettysburg Times for this touching story.

Return of the Prodigal Camera

BBC News brings us the happy tale of a camera lost overboard during a cruise but retrieved from the depths of the ocean and returned to its owner.

Barbara and Dennis Gregory, from South Africa, were sailing on the QM2 from New York to England in 2008.  When other passengers yelled that there were dolphins in the water, Mr. Gregory jumped up and his camera "bounced off his lap, across the deck and into the water with hardly a splash and it was gone."

Barbara and Dennis Gregory - Luke 15 - Prodigal SonMs. Gregory lamented "we were devastated. We’d lost every photograph from New York."  

But, as Herman Melville tells us in his classic novel Moby Dick, we live in a mutual joint-stock world.

Fisherman Benito Estevez, of Spain, caught the camera in his nets off the west coast of Europe. He wanted to trace the camera back to its owners, so he posted the pictures online.  Friends of Mr. and Ms. Gregory in the U.K. saw the photos from the camera and contacted them.  Mr. Estevez  commented that he could have easily thrown the water-logged camera back into the sea, but decided otherwise.  "I think it’s because of destiny." 

This story, albeit about a camera, takes me to my favorite passage in the Bible, Luke 15:11-32, which reminds us of the return of the prodigal son (or daughter). 

"My son, the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we have to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours is dead and is alive again; he was lost and is now found."

The loss of a camera, although insignificant, reflects the loss of experiences, of memories and, ultimately, of life itself.  The sea has swallowed many a life.  And even though involving a camera, this story is one of hope and redemption.  It tells us of life lost coming back from the sea to life.  



Lyn Burdon                     The Cairns Post

The Detwiler and Joseph families       Gettysburgs Times

Ms. Gregory                                         BBC News