The surprising power of an email

Can you think of someone whom you barely know but made an impact on your life?

Brian and I had vacationed to the beach, lake, and mountains before, so we wanted to try something new together for our “last hurrah” before baby and in celebration of our third anniversary last September. We booked a seven day cruise out of San Juan, Puerto Rico and set sail to the southern Caribbean.

When we arrived, we were disappointed to learn that we were assigned seats for dinner with a group of other couples. After trying to snag a table for two with no luck, we were seated at a table with a middle-aged couple from Georgia, two honeymooning couples, and a senior couple from California, Duane and Priscilla.

Duane and Priscilla had been married for 50+ years. They delighted in stories of their children and grandchildren. They spoke fondly of the world travels they had experienced in their lifetime. They held hands during the evening shows. And they were full of faith.

Having just found out two days before our cruise that we were expecting, they were also the first people with which we shared our exciting news (my not having a drink with dinner all week sparked some curiosity).

After spending several dinners together, we had formed a friendship with this couple. On the last night, as we were exchanging emails and saying our goodbyes, Duane asked us if he could say a prayer for us. In the middle of the ship’s dining hall, he thanked God for bringing us together, asked for safe travels as we headed home, and prayed for us as we continued our journey of marriage and embarked on a new one in parenthood. And being six weeks pregnant, I was a sobbing mess.

We exchanged a few emails when we returned home but then lost touch. Just last week, I thought of them out of the blue and told Brian that we should send them a picture of Bridget. But life got the best of me and I never got around to it.

Today, I received an email from Priscilla with a subject line of “Do you remember us?” and a brief note that they are praying for us and hoping her email finds us well. Signed, “Your shipmates, Duane and Priscilla.”

This couple fits the description above. We barely know them; yet are so grateful for having met them. Their love for one another and strong faith were an inspiration for us as we celebrated our anniversary and the beginning of life with Bridget. I can only hope that when we are in our 70s, we are cruising the Caribbean sharing our life stories and helping a young couple celebrate the beginning of their lifetime together…because this time is pretty awesome.

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