The greatness of a community is most accurately measured
by the compassionate actions of its members.
~Coretta Scott King~
Lately I have been puzzling about the world, its inhabitants and how we can find a way to get along with each other. The Internet, TV and news outlets focus on our differences and how we are increasingly drawn into opposite factions. In the process, we tend to discount other groups and see their ways, thoughts and feelings repulsive.
I looked forward to being away from the conflicts while I was on an eight day cruise. I did not expect to find any answers there but just some relief from the increasing conflicts all around me. I sought to hide from the tensions among groups and the efforts of some people to fan the flames of discord.
I boarded Royal Caribbean’s ship Adventure of the Seas, seeking peace and relaxation among close to three thousand other passengers and around fifteen hundred staff members and entertainers. As usual, everyone immediately descended upon the Windjammer, the ship’s cafeteria. After eating we all went our separate ways seeking our own relaxation. After the initial feeding frenzy, I began to look around the ship, finding groups of friends and families deciding what to do with the rest of their day. I noticed the diversity of passengers, the majority being white along with a considerable mix of Blacks, Asians and Hispanics. In contrast, the staff and performers I met were predominantly of other than Caucasian descent. They were from diverse countries around the world as I could see by their name tags.
I never had any negative interactions with any of the staff. Everyone with whom I came into contact treated me with the utmost respect as they did with others in my party and other passengers.
One night my girlfriend felt under the weather. The dining room staff members including our waiter, assistant waiter and head waiter were all very solicitous and put together soft drinks and crackers for me to take her. The next evening and during the rest of the cruise, they all continued to check on her and pamper her to the best of their ability. From what I could observe, all of the staff treated each other with the same respect.
The ship seemed like a harmonious microcosm. I saw it as an example of what the world could be like if everyone treated each other with the respect I observed among the ship staff and employees toward each other and toward passengers. I have talked with some of the staff on this and prior cruises, almost all of whom have families back home whom they help to support. Although they missed their families, they were happy to have work and wages to help support them.
My shipboard experiences renewed my faith in the possibility of everyone getting along. It is my hope that the rest of us can find ways to respect and support each other despite our differences.