09 November 2010

Time is Precious

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we
had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."

Jack Kerouac

I wish I could start this post with an exclamatory tone, but my time in Vietnam is now punctuated by sad and senseless tragedy. I returned from an incredibly rejuvenating trip in the farmlands of Hoi An to the ship on the evening of November 6 to learn that a student had just been found unconscious in his cabin. As the night progressed, the reality of his passing became evident. A memorial service was held yesterday in the same lecture hall that has been filled with joy, laughter, excitement, and now grief.

I was not personally friends with this young man, but no member of our shipboard community has gone unaffected by his passing. A young life, gone too soon. It’s a disgusting reminder that no matter how smart or capable, we are not invincible.

I’ve been flooded with all kinds of perplexing emotions. Shock, sadness, love, and bucket loads of gratitude. I feel like I want to tattoo the mantra “I will not waste this life” on the backs of my hands after all the amazing life experiences I’m having on this trip. Time is precious. My heart aches terribly for his family and friends at home who are plagued with questions, confusion, anger, and sorrow – comprehending the loss of such a young soul must be unfathomable for a parent.

There is an eeriness to the whole thing, too. This week we lost a 20-year old boy in Vietnam for no good reason. During the American war, we lost 20,000 20-year boys for no good reason. And for what?

I may attempt to revisit a blog about Vietnam in time, but now this is all that seems relevant to share. I ask that regardless of your faith orientation, you keep Andre Ramadan, his family, and our community in your thoughts in prayers as we heal and move forward with this journey.


  1. All my love is bursting through the miles that separate us, holding you close. My prayers are daily for Andre's family and friends. Love you~

  2. Your ship has my thoughts and prayers darling!