The Deep Sapphire Blue of the Mediterranean Sea

For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, my dad wanted to take my mom to Israel.  Many years ago, he asked: “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?”  I don’t think my dad could’ve anticipated her answer.  Mom wanted to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and my dad set out to make her dream come true.  I guess that’s how people stay married for fifty years.  However, Dad wanted a family celebration—including my sister, brother, me and our spouses.  And his plans didn’t stop at Israel.  He planned a Mediterranean cruise of the Holy Lands for all of us.  Let me re-phrase part of this scenario.  The trip would include my parents, my sister and her husband, my brother and his wife, me and Kody Byers, my ex-husband, or maybe I should say my former husband, of nearly nineteen years.  Through divorce we found friendship once more, and through friendship we found love again.  And that’s where my relationship stood with Kody when we boarded our cruise ship for the trip of a lifetime.  Seventeen days and six countries:  Venice and Ravenna, Italy; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Nazareth, Galilee, and Jerusalem, Israel; Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt; Kuşadası, Turkey; and Patmos and Athens, Greece.  In my wildest dreams, I never imagined seeing the pyramids.  I never imagined such a spiritual experience.  And I never imagined the deep sapphire blue of the Mediterranean Sea.

Kusadasi, Turkey

On June 23, 2011, we ported in Kuşadası, Turkey, a major Aegean resort town and cruise ship port and the gateway to the renowned ruins of Ephesus. I will never forget this day.  Ever.

Our first tour bus stop: the house of the Virgin Mary, excavated in the 1800s based on the visions of a German nun.  In the scriptures, St. John tells us that Jesus, before dying on the cross, entrusted him with the care of His mother.  After the death of Christ, St. John traveled to Ephesus to spread the gospel. He probably brought Mary with him.  Now you can believe me or not, but I felt the spirit of God at Mary’s house.  Chills on my arms. A shimmer of tears in my eyes. Upon examination of my soul, I felt an emotional awareness.  I don’t know how else to explain the sensation.  We stood on holy land. 

Our tour guide explained that the spring water here is believed to be sacred, and there are three fountains:  one for health, one for wealth, and one for love.  Kody and I stood in all three lines, filled our water bottles, drank the water, and shared a kiss.

health, wealth, and love

Next to the fountains stands a wall covered in thousands of paper prayers. Kody and I wrote down our prayers and left them for God on the wall.  I thanked God for my family’s health, wealth, and love.

prayer wall

Our tour of Ephesus concluded in a Turkish rug store, where our tour guide invited us to support the Turkish economy. Silk cocoons were transformed into raw silk, spun into thread, and dyed into every color on the wheel. Weavers pushed yarn back and forth through rug backings with little tools weaving the rugs by hand.

From there our hosts ushered us into a show room. Next came the beer and wine. Then came rug after rug. Then came salesman after salesman.  Kody and I narrowly escaped the Turkish rug store without committing to purchase.  However, the rug store led directly into a jewelry store, where a sapphire caught my eye and whispered encouragement to Kody.

The next thing I knew, the ring was sized to fit my finger.  On the Holy Lands of the Aegean coast, Kody gazed into my eyes and proposed marriage again, and this time I knew without a doubt that our relationship would last forever.  The sapphire symbolizes sincerity, faithfulness, and new beginnings.  Mine will always remind me of my parents’ example, God’s presence, and the deep sapphire blue of the Mediterranean Sea.

engagement.jpg

 

 

30 thoughts on “The Deep Sapphire Blue of the Mediterranean Sea

  1. What a wonderful story! I think it’s great that you and Kody remained close enough after divorce that you’d even consider traveling together for this momentous occasion. So inspiring! I’m very happy for both of you.

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  2. Hello Crystal, I see some of your readers have used the word wonderful to describe your story. Add me to the list. Wonderful story and I wish you both the best of happily ever after. Jerry

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  3. An amazing story Crystal. The twists and turns of life never cease to amaze. Congrats on your 2nd marriage to your 1st husband…and to resisting the efforts of the carpet sellers. We resisted as well. Happy Saturday. Allan

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  4. Larry and I were lucky enough to visit Mary’s house about ten years ago, and I, too, felt the presence you were describing as sacred, holy, and inviolable. We also explored the cave where it was said that St. John wrote his gospel. Can I just say I’m enamored with your love story? You leave a legacy of infallible love, the basis of which is friendship. I’m so happy for you and Kody. Hugs, C

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    1. Thank you, Cheryl. I was smitten with Kody when I wrote this one. The trip was spiritual and romantic. And this story gives me hope that we can start over again and again (even when I might want to chase him with a frying pan 😂).

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      1. Oh I can relate to the starting over “again and again,” thing! I’ve always said, marriage is like a roller coaster, when the ride is done, you run to the ticket counter for another go! Hugs, C

        Liked by 1 person

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