Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dubious Choices

Helping book the honeymoon is risky business. We knew owning a timeshare had future benefits and that manifested itself when Matt announced he wanted to honeymoon somewhere outside the safety of the land of the free. We could trade our highly desirable summer week in Hilton Head and send Matt and Karissa anywhere in the world. All we'd need is airfare.

"Is Cancun safe?" I asked my travel adviser, as the top picks of the happy couple were mostly in Cancun.
"Safe.... as in how do you mean safe?" he asked.
I paused. This was already not quite the answer I was going for.
He continued, "Oh you mean that unfortunate incident."
"Yes," I said, having no idea what that "unfortunate" incident was.
"That was an example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said, "If your honeymooners stay in the right place at the right time, they should be fine."
"Well, that is what I want to know. Is Cancun the right place at the right time?"
"We have no travel restrictions from the State department," he answered.
Why did I get an uncomfortable feeling he was hedging?
"If they stay in the resorts, they will be fine," he offered in the silence.
"And if not?"
"They should definitely avoid the border towns," he said, "And going out of the resort alone like in that unfortunate incident."
I just could not bear to ask about the unfortunate incident.
"Can you see if we can find a match for them from their top 6 list?" I asked, moving on.
"Now they should not go to Jamaica," he continued. (This was not on their list. He just seemed fixated on avoiding future unfortunate incidents.)
"Nor Aruba except in a few specific resorts. And of course you know that Iran might be wise to avoid til that nuclear reactor dust settles."
"I hear parts of Afghanistan are lovely," I egged him on.
"I can't tell you much about the resorts there," he admitted, "Our members have not requested that often."
"Back to their top 6 list," I suggested.
"Well, hahahahahah, oh forgive me. Are you a millionaire?"
"Well number one is nice, quite nice in fact. This is where the King of Jordan stays when he vacations."
"Oh, you mean it is not just an even trade for our Hilton Head week?"
There was a polite chuckling of mirth, and then he explained about the "all inclusive" trap. This means many of the better resorts add on a fee that is mandatory, but will then cover all drinks and food and some activities as well. For our frugal couple, the fee at their #1 choice was $1800 a day. Yes, I kid you not.... a day. Please understand, Matt and Karissa had no idea what the fee was or even that there was a fee. All they knew was that choice #1 looked nice. I guess they were right.
"Move on to choice #2," I choked.
"Oh, this is also a very nice choice," he said, "But it is never available."
"Why is it in the magazine then?" I asked.
"To lure innocent suckers like you to buy timeshares," he answered, or would have anyway if he were honest. Instead he said that about every 10 years one unit becomes available.
"I don't think they want to wait 10 years for their honeymoon," I said.
"Oh of course, i can understand that! I was young once," he said.
"Can we move onto choice #3?" I begged before I was treated to the impending discussion of his once youthful love.
There was again a disturbing pause.
"Well," he drawled finally,"This is a good choice if they want to pack light."
"What do you mean?"
"Are they aware clothes are optional at this resort?", then he quickly calculated that it was conceivable we were "that kind" of people, and backpedalled.
"I mean, many folks like this atmosphere, but I might worry that on a honeymoon it could cause fights. Hey hubby, why are you looking at those silicon inflated....."

You get the drift. Choice #5 was available, affordable, and "should be" safe. We put that one on hold.

Maybe choices are not a good thing. This of course will start my father on his discussion that " so called" "free will" is a crock. If an all knowing all loving God predestines and already knows what you will choose before you choose it, how can it be "free will"? I would love to be able to argue this concept and settle it right here and now, but I am still trying to wrap my brain around what is the best honeymoon choice on our budget that will not lead to unfortunate incidents.

But that is not a bad illustration of free will. I may know what my son will choose, because I raised him and I know he doesn't want to suck our generosity dry, as then he would have to support us in our old age. I know he wants to keep himself and his bride safe from unfortunate incidents. I could force a choice on them, and say take it or leave it, but like God, I won't. I will give them the freedom to choose, and hope they are wise in the exercise of that freedom. Of course the choices that God sets before us have eternal consequence, and are of much more import than where we should honeymoon. He could force us to believe in Him, obey Him, love Him.... but instead He lets us choose. He longs for us to choose Him, but to His infinite grief, many times we do not. I think His greatest sacrifice is letting us walk away, especially when He already knows whether we intend to walk back or not.

But I am not God, and like it or not, my beloved son and prospective new daughter will not be going anywhere that requires barbed wire around their bungalow, or mine sweeping before breakfast.

Joshua 24:15 (New International Version)

15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

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