This originally appeared on whillschurch.org as the weekly devo.
Thanks to my in-laws, Amy’s entire family was treated to a cruise vacation this summer. That’s a total of 13 of us. It was a great time even though a tropical storm diverted us from our original destinations of St. Martin and St. Thomas to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.
When you travel in a group of 13, a little bit of research goes a long way. We had done our research for St. Martin and St. Thomas but we were no longer going there. There were a couple of flyers on the boat about Grand Cayman and Cozumel but nothing in detail. One possible destination in Grand Cayman was a place called Ft. George.
I love old forts, the history, the cool canons. You can get the best viewpoint of the surroundings from a fort. I drag my family through them whenever I get a chance. Most of the time they end up liking it but quickly get bored. We do get some cool pictures out of these trips…so most of the time, it’s worth it.
According to the brochure, Ft. George provided a great place for pictures. It was the fort that protected Grand Cayman’s bay from pirates. I decided not to really push the fort on the rest of the family but I was going to explore it whether anyone else went with me or not. I did go around humming the theme to Pirates of the Caribbean just to see who else would get in the mood to go with me.
Turns out, I was the only one. But my brother-in-law and his sons reluctantly said they would go. That in turn guilted Amy and my sister-in-law to go along as well.
We get off the boat, I go into the visitor’s center and grab a map. I meet the rest of the crew right outside the gate of the port area. I spread out the map completely looking like a tourist but I don’t care. We’ve got a fort to find. “Gang, listen…this is going to be fun. I promise. These old forts are awesome. It’s not going to be as bad as you think it is.”
As I’m looking at the map, Amy pipes up. “I think found your fort.”
She can barely keep from laughing out loud.
The picture above is Ft. George. Located a mere 12 yards from the entrance to the port. All of it. At least, all that is left. If you look closely, my nephew is sitting on a replica canon. That’s right – the canon isn’t even real. The wonderful view has been replaced with a chain link fence and tropical pink wall. Right behind that wall is the bay and port of Grand Cayman. It’s beautiful. You’ll have to trust me on this one.
I’m still holding the map in my hands with this look of utter disbelief as Amy starts snapping pictures. My sister-in-law is in tears. Amy moves from pictures to video of my stuttering and looking in circles. My nephews start in on the Fort jokes. My brother-in-law said…”You’re right, Grant. That didn’t take any time at all. Not nearly as bad as I thought.”
As the gang took video and pictures – and made many a joke at my expense – I shrugged my shoulders and had to laugh. The trip to Ft. George will be remembered by our family for a long, long, long time. It’s one of the most memorable experiences of all of our time together.
We all have Ft. Georges in our lives. Things that we build up as so important, so meaningful, so wonderful then when we get there it is nothing like we thought it would be. Great plans that don’t pan out. Something or someone doesn’t deliver what was promised or what we thought it should have delivered. Those times can either be a place of major disappointment OR a place of laughter and refocus. Depends partly on our attitude but also partly on who we are traveling with.
This is why a Life Group is such a necessary part of our walk with Jesus. Ft. Georges are going to happen. Some will be funny, some will be painful. All can be bearable if we decide to travel with others that love us and love God.
Before this school year gets too crazy busy and full of your own Ft. Georges – check out a life group and get involved in one. I promise you it will be worth it.
For more information on a life group – click here or email Gary Manford at gmanford AT whillschurch.org.