By Del Duduit
Amazing. Breathtaking. Stunning.
Words cannot touch the realm of awe you feel when you take a cruise through the last frontier.
The views were more than I imagined. The nobility of the mountains was majestic.
To see an American Bald Eagle in flight was pure grandeur, and to set foot on Taku Glacier filled my soul with splendor.
During a stop in Ketchikan, Alaska, Angie and I took a few hours with The Alaska Catch where I hauled in enough salmon to send home for a seafood feast.
The next day, we soared above the clouds in a chopper and set foot on a glacier in Juneau. Wow. The daunting feeling made me feel insignificant as I stood near a stream flowing quietly from the ice formation that spans 30 miles.
God’s imagination of beauty overwhelmed me.
Words and pictures do not come close to describe the magnitude of beauty within Alaska.
But I can describe another feature I encountered all throughout our journey. This is a quality YOU can control if you put forth the effort.
Our cruise director, Carlos, was the epitome of kindness. I don’t think he slept on our eight-day adventure because every time I saw him he was impeccably dressed and in a wonderful mood. He was a real-life Energizer Bunny.
He grew up in San Diego, California, and has been a cruise director for 10 years.
“I love being around people and this job. I get to travel the world and get paid while I do it,” he told me as greeted his guests on the dock in Juneau. “But I learned a long time ago that you can’t please everyone. I keep a smile on my face and focus on the positive.”
I never heard Carlos complain. Instead, he oozed energy and enthusiasm. I understand he is compensated for his effort, but I don’t think his contagious attitude is financially motivated.
But I learned a long time ago that you can’t please everyone. I keep a smile on my face and focus on the positive.
Then there was Yuli from Indonesia. She is a service worker on the Lido Deck who everyone loved. Her smile lit up the room. I got to know her more when she went along with us on our excursion to Taku Glacier. She earned the privilege to go because Carlos received so many compliments about her sparkling attitude that he gave her the afternoon off.
“I’m always a happy person,” she told me. “I get happy when I make others happy.”
Then there was Jay and Wan, the men who took care of our stateroom. They always greeted me with a hello or good morning and a great big smile. They were pleasant to be around and made us feel welcome. We also enjoyed the “towel art” they used every night – towels that were creatively turned into monkeys, elephants, and other surprises which will be the topic of next week’s post.
It’s a lost art anymore.
The only negative comment I heard was from a passenger lady standing in line to receive her omelet. She was perturbed because she had to wait a few moments. She demonstrated a sense of entitlement. In today’s drive-thru society and on-demand anything, the trait of patience and service to others has overtaken humility.
I felt undeserving at times to be waited on hand and foot, night and day, but I accepted their generosity. They were doing their job; however, they did it with such passion and desire and love.
The staff of 787 crew worked their tails off to make us happy.
Many of them would not accept tips and responded that our happiness was enough.
If I needed a cup of coffee — and I consumed about four cups a day — it was there. If I wanted another dessert, I had it in seconds. And it was brought to me with a smile. (I won’t mention the amount of pounds or calories I consumed.)
How do you respond to requests from people who you don’t know? Do you dash to please people with a smile, or are you the person waiting impatiently in line for the omelet?
If someone asks how you are doing, do you respond by launching into a long diatribe of your problems, or do you emulate joy and peace God has placed in your soul?
While in Alaska, I experienced more than majestic snow-covered mountains and the thrilling excitement of bringing in a Silver Salmon. I witnessed true service to others aboard the Noordam through Holland America.
You may not be a cruise director or on staff of a cruise ship, but you can possess the same attributes Carlos and Yuli showed to Angie and me and our party. In today’s world, it’s easy to shut the door to others and lock yourself inside a room of selfishness.
If you find you are doing just that, consider doing the following:
- Help your family: Do the dishes or laundry for your wife or mother. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another. (Romans 12:10 KJV)
- Volunteer: Help out at church or in your community. Don’t complain, but view this activity as an opportunity to let your light shine and help others. As every man hath received the gift even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. (I Peter 4: 10 KJV)
- Send a note of encouragement: You can do this every day, and you only need a few moments to send a text or leave a message for someone who is struggling. Wherefore comfort yourselves together and edify one another even as also ye do. (I Thessalonians 5: 11 KJV)
I’m confident Carlos and Yuli have problems in life, but I would never know it from my conversations with them. They possessed the art of service, and I will make an effort to focus on putting others first.
Egos and pride must be dumped overboard into the Gulf of Alaska, and service must be spread as wide as the wing span of the powerful Bald Eagle.
Do you serve others? Or do you act like the woman waiting on the omelet? Can you do better?
Del Duduit is an award-winning writer and author who lives in Lucasville, Ohio with his wife, Angie. They attend Rubyville Community Church. Follow his blog at delduduit.com/blog and his Twitter @delduduit. He is represented by Cyle Young of Hartline Literary Agency.
His first book — BUCKEYE BELIEVER – 40 Days of Devotions for The Ohio State Faithful –can be purchased on Amazon here.