This story is continued from A Moonlit Memory, Part I. In part II of A Moonlit Memory writer, speaker and Bible teacher, Ellie Lofaro, continues sharing her memory of a special moonlit night spent with a friend of God.
In November, 2000, I had the privilege of spending a week on “The Women of Faith Caribbean Cruise.” My dear friend Kathy Troccoli was the featured singer and was informed she could bring a guest. She invited me to come along and I didn’t pause to accept. My husband Frank gave his blessing when he learned the cruise was absolutely free and would be attended by 600 women. The long anticipated day finally arrived and I was thrilled to leave the wintry east coast weather behind—not to mention the laundry, the dishes and the grocery list.
We set sail on Holland America’s Maasdam and I immediately adjusted to the good life. The five-course dinners, the island hopping and the freedom to sleep past the rude awakening of an alarm clock were all delightful treats. To top off the pleasures of cruising, we attended daily gatherings where the Women of Faith worship team ushered us into God’s presence and the speakers blessed and challenged us through inspirational talks and Bible study. It was the ultimate retreat. Imagine my delight when Barbara Johnson invited Kathy and me to her room for a visit one night after dinner. I happily anticipated how nice it would be to have personal conversation with a woman whom I had admired for so many years. She had influenced my own speaking and writing style and I remember feeling a bit like a kid in a candy store. When we arrived at Stateroom 5, Kathy knocked deliberately. What followed still seems a bit dream-like and a sweet dream at that!
Barbara answered the door. She was wearing a full-length silky robe with a purple floral design. Her slippers were shiny pearl and her typically coiffed hair had been brushed out. The ship was well appointed yet dated so Barbara looked like she had stepped out of a Loretta Young movie. She greeted us with a hug and informed us her roommate Linda had gone for a stroll up on deck. Barbara immediately asked us to join her out on her balcony and informed us there was a present waiting. Kathy and I grinned at one another and shrugged. As we passed through the glass door, the warm air enveloped us and we turned to see what our hostess had in mind.
She pointed toward the full moon and then to her husbands’s high-powered binoculars which had been atop the lounge furniture. She held out the binoculars and invited us to enjoy “the gift of the moon in all its glory.” Kathy focused in first and then I did the same. Barbara stood between us as we all leaned our forearms on the rail. The ship was moving swiftly and the moon seemed close enough to touch. The Caribbean night air felt like warm cotton balls dabbing my face. As the three of us gazed out to the ocean and up to the sky, Barbara proceeded to eloquently recite a beautiful old hymn, which stated; that if the ocean were ink, it would not be deep or wide enough to write of God’s goodness and mercy. It was so moving. I realized at that point that this was one of those “moments” that would leave a deep imprint on my heart.
Continue reading this story at A Moonlit Memory, Part III