Finding Joy in Today

Twenty-four days before we were set to embark on the trip of a lifetime, my husband Frank had a major health crisis. For months, we had planned this Rhine River cruise through the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland. Then Frank wound up in intensive care. Four days after he was out of the hospital and on the road to recovery, we consulted with doctors about the trip. “If it were me,” one doctor said, “I’d go.” 

Should we let the stress of yesterday and the uncertainty of tomorrow change our plans? Or should we enjoy today? We filled prescriptions and packed our bags.

On the European cruise we considered canceling, my always-curious husband learned about the history of medieval towns such as Cologne, viewed its impressive cathedral begun in 1248, and marveled at the ornate Roman mosaics. With the variety of activity options and levels (active or leisurely), we chose our pace. We wandered around cozy villages and strolled down riverside parks. We viewed the countryside including vineyards and castles and even got to have a guide take us through a castle in Germany with a hidden passage and a witches’ tower. 

Always intrigued with how things work, my husband was fascinated with the river’s lock system and with the collapsible upper deck wheelhouse, which allowed the ship to fit under low bridges.

On the trip that we considered canceling, worries didn’t stop us from laughing together during the tour’s evening entertainment. We enjoyed conversations with fellow Mayflower guests and staff from San Diego, Texas, New York, Scotland, England, Serbia, and more. We laughed with a server from Indonesia who kept secretly refilling our wine glasses. (We’d told her we had enough, but we sinfully enjoyed the extra pours.) We learned about her life and shared tales of our own. 

Worries were forgotten as we enjoyed the colors of a Swiss market that included fragrant cheeses, colorful tulips, specialty olives and local wines. We delighted in sampling local beers and wines like pinot noir, riesling, or pinot blanc which paired with gourmet entrees and desserts such as crème brûlée. In Switzerland, possibly our favorite country of the four, we soaked in the alpine landscape and meadows full of wildflowers. 

Stress melted away while strolling on a flower-strewn promenade where we viewed charming villas and colorful sail boats. From snow-topped peaks to nesting swans, Switzerland seemed to have it all. We especially enjoyed Lucern’s Chapel bridge, a covered bridge, 660 feet long, built on stilts and decorated with paintings relating to the town.

On the trip that we considered cancelling, we were victorious. We didn’t waste our time worrying. We gathered memories instead. We found joy in today.

4 Replies to “Finding Joy in Today”

Jane Govoni

This was one of your best-ever posts, and I am so impressed with the resilience you both showed.

Thank you for the comment, Jane, and for your support. I’m grateful to have you as a mentor and friend.

Debbie Gille

Amy, thanks so much for sharing your Rhine Adventure. You created so many memories. Loved it all

Thank you, Deb. I hope you get a chance to river cruise. This was a trip of a lifetime.

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