I am happy to report that I returned from vacation unscathed; no broken bones, no serious (or non-serious) health issues, no lost luggage, no airline horror stories. Nada. In fact, I would hazard to say that it was the most relaxing, blessed and pleasant vacation I have ever had.

When looking for a place to relax for a week, my thoughts always turn to Mexico, for the people and the pace of life there are wonderful. This year, I decided to try the island of Cozumel, twelve miles off the mainland. My reasoning was that being an island, it could only sustain a limited number of people, tourists and locals included. I was right. The downtown area of San Miguel de Cozumel greets up to four cruise ships a day, but the rest of the island is far less crowded and lends itself to a more leisurely existence.

One thing I always try to remember, especially in Mexico, is how little workers are paid. The average resort employee earns about $23 per day, barely enough to live on. In many cases, entire families work to provide for the necessities of life. When traveling to Mexico, or anywhere else for that matter, I always make certain that I take bills of small denominations to tip early and often. It is amazing how much difference a few dollars mean to a person when they are not well paid.

This trip was no different, in addition to tipping, I made sure to treat every employee I met with respect, learned their names, their spouse’s and children’s names, and tipped generously. Soon it seemed like everyone knew my name also. As I would leave my suite each morning, I was greeted with, “Buenas dias, Mrs. Holt” all the way to the restaurant for breakfast. I got to know the managers of all the departments of the resort, the manager of dining & beverages would often ask his staff, “Where is 505 dining tonight?” (505 was my room number, he could not always remember my name.)

I try to be as courteous as possible to everyone in a resort because I see how poorly they are treated by my fellow guests. Most of them ignore them, or worse, order them around with no “please” or “thank you.” As a Christian, this attitude is dead wrong. We are only a few weeks away from when we observed Maundy Thursday, where Jesus instructed all his disciples, including us, to love one another as he loved us. It is not good enough to profess we are Christians unless we strive to live by the example Jesus set and the words he imparted to us.

On the day I departed, I came out of the front desk after checking out, to find that all the department managers had come to say “Adios!” There were hugs and kisses, speeches and a gift of a shortbread bouquet baked by the pastry chef. I now know exactly where my “happy place” is in Mexico henceforth.

Summer is almost here, as you plan for vacations and other fun, relaxing pursuits, try to live out the message of love and acceptance Jesus taught us, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” John 15:12. Go thou and do likewise.

In Christ,

Pastor Sharon