Carnival relies on volunteer clergy to hold Sunday services, and none were forthcoming for our cruise, so we decided to have a little service on our own.
The group services lady was most accommodating and set us up for Sunday morning at 10:00 in the Neon Bar. It has a piano to accompany our songs.
So the venue was a bit out of the ordinary but Anita and I did the best we could, singing "This Little Light of Mine" and readings from Corinthians. We talked about the meaning of the scriptures (I almost fell off my bar stool, a novel thing to happen while leading devotions). Then a few of the Ranchers wanted to pray. The prayers mostly spoke to their love for their parents and their history with the Ranch, sometimes from infancy.
It's hard work to understand the feelings underlying their words, true of everybody of course, but especially in the case of the Ranchers. I believe our calling, however, is to serve as witnesses and interpreters of their deep longings.
All in all things got pretty weepy. Emotions seem to bring forth tears, even if they are expressing joyful feelings such as a deep love and appreciation for their parents, as Mark did, or Sterling's love for Kelly and their hope to marry. Anita and I talked later and decided their tendency to cry is in response to the strength of the emotion itself, and not whether it was what we think of as a sad or happy emotion to begin with.
Sure enough, after the service everyone was happy and ready to party away our last day on the Ecstasy. Another few good meals, some time in the hot tub, another round of karaoke, and more dancing!
If there's one thing I've learned from our Ranchers, it's this: while we have the legs and the breath to do it, it is a good thing to dance, at all times and in all places.
And I can think of no better way to show gratitude for the life I've been given, and all the blessings of this day.