A Bucket List Trip
I learned a lot about the northern lights on our recent cruise in Norway. We spent nearly a year planning for the trip. I was excited to experience another thing on my bucket list. But, my preconceived notions about the celestial display were challenged a few days into the trip.
I assumed that if you went far enough north, you would see a brilliant display of color in the sky every night, all night long. If I had done my homework, I would have learned the display in the night skies of planet earth were directly related to the activity on the sun.
We were in Norway for about two weeks, covering two weekends. I normally share a blog post on the weekend so I planned to write about my experience and include the wonderful pictures I would take. I even picked out a Bible verse to use.
Chasing The Northern Lights
The first weekend came and we had not yet seen the elusive lights. I wasn’t worried. There was still time. Besides, I found something surprising to write about — the extremely short days of winter in arctic Norway.
One of the places we visited was Alta, Norway, the Town of the Northern Lights. At a little over two hundred miles above the arctic circle and around a thousand miles from the North Pole, it is one of the northernmost cities in the world. It’s a prime location for viewing the northern lights and our best chance to see them on the cruise.
We were in Alta two nights and did not see anything. I was a little disappointed but knew that our next best chance was coming up in Tromsø, about a hundred miles south.
You can get different apps on your phone to tell you things like the likelihood of seeing the northern lights in a particular place or when it is a good time to look. The app I had, Norway Lights gave you an indication of Go, Try or Wait. The first night we were in Tromsø, the skies were cloudy, so we got a Try message.
As you can imagine, I was a little disappointed. We had traveled almost 5,000 miles and subjected ourselves to below freezing temperatures and it looked like we weren’t going to see the beautiful northern lights. My mood threatened to turn gloomy.
A Change In Perspective
It didn’t take me long to come to my senses. I considered my surroundings and changed my perspective. True, I may not see the northern lights, but I was on beautiful ship, cruising by beautiful scenery vastly different from where I live. I was eating delicious food, listening to interesting people lecture about history, culture and science and enjoying amazing musical talent. I was surrounded by kind, attentive crew members. To top it off, I was experiencing all of this with my husband and other family members who are special to me. How could I let disappointment over one aspect of the trip tarnish the entire experience? Even if I didn’t see the northern lights, it was an amazing trip.
I decided if I couldn’t write about the beautiful northern lights I wasn’t going to see, I would write about dealing with disappointments in life.
Lesson Learned, A Wink From God
Our second night in Tromsø, shortly before we left the port, the aurora made its appearance. We were at dinner, between the appetizer and the entree when the announcement came. There was a mass exodus from the dining room as people rushed to get their coats and head out on deck.
We ended up seeing a couple of more displays that evening and then, surprisingly, the next evening, even though we were further south. It wasn’t the brilliant display I expected (that shows up better through a camera lens) but I did see the green glow streaking across the night sky. I saw the northern lights.
I thought about other disappointments I face. As an empty-nester, my biggest disappointment is that my two children live so far away — one in Nashville, Tennessee and one in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m nine to twelve hours away, in Central Florida. I can bemoan that fact and be gloomy, like my neighbor Eyeore or, I can look for what is good. Sure, they live far away, but at least they live in really fun cities to visit. And, technology allows us to stay connected through text messages, FaceTime or phone calls. Just yesterday, I spent almost two hours on the phone with my daughter as I did my grocery shopping.
My grandfather had a plaque in his office that read “Look For The Good And Praise It”. I think that’s a pretty good thing to practice.
How about you? What are some of the ways in which you deal with disappointments?