The other day I was talking to my friend Tammie, and she asked if I’d heard about the Royal Caribbean cruise ship that had been caught in a monster storm. When I said I had not heard anything about it, Tammie proceeded to tell me that the ship had just set sail when unexpected wind and wave storms literally crippled the ship. Tammie loves to cruise. She and her family have taken quite a few cruises, and she said just the news of the ferocity of the storm scared her. The waves reached as high as the 5th deck, and the winds were so strong, the captain was unable to turn the ship. The next morning, I was still thinking about that ship and storm, and I sent Tammie a text thanking her for sharing – without her even knowing it – a great life lesson. Everyone on the ship, captain included, had boarded with intentions of cruising from port to port, and eventually to final the destination, with ease, and beautiful and fun-filled experiences. Everyone was ready to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. And why not? The trip and airfare were paid for, and folks were packed and ready! As I reflected about that ship and storm, the parallel to life became clear. We live “good” lives -paying our fare to cruise: we follow the rules, treat people nice, attend church, pay taxes, donate to charities, etc. As we cruise through life, a crippling storm comes out of nowhere: loss of a job, a loved one’s death, a debilitating disease, betrayal by someone close, and the list goes on. Like that captain, we try to navigate out of the storm to no avail. The winds and waves seem too strong. Be encouraged dear reader: as with that cruise ship, you will survive the storm. Remain anchored in your faith, because the storm will pass. If you notice, no matter how fierce the waves and wind were OUTSIDE of the ship, it did not sink. You see, the water outside of a ship doesn’t make it sink. The ship sinks when the water gets INSIDE. Like a ship captain, you batten down the hatches: stand firm and strong in your faith, never lose hope, and seal off openings through which negativity can seep in. You can, in fact withstand your storms. Live GOLDEN: Grateful, Optimistic, Loving, Driven, Encouraging (of yourself then others), No matter what!