Friday, August 21, 2009

John Ed Pearce wrote . . .

"home is the place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to."

I don't regret leaving. I don't regret wanting to know if there was more life to be lived somewhere other than here. There was. And I did. It was so much more than I ever expected.

I was thrilled to see the seasons change; watch the colorful transformation of leaves; feel the chill of winter's first storm as it rolled down from the mountains and then blanket the city in white. I perspired in the dry desert heat and hid from the threat of lightening storms.

I made friends with the most amazing people I never dreamed I could have met. I grew strong, confident, self-aware, and calm. I had reached such great heights and plummeted to heart-breaking lows, and somehow, I still came out ahead. I strengthened, stretched and tested my relationship with God. And I'm standing at the other end of my trials in full knowledge of God's love for me, and His willingness to forgive, and His belief that I am a far better person than I know myself to be.

Widening my comfort zone became a necessity and a personal challenge. I had to lay aside my typical habits of limiting my involvement in life and in the lives of others. The world had a whole new outlook. It was large and small at the same time. I felt the change too, I was the same yet different. Being open to new ideas, challenges, people, and possibilities eventually made me ready to turn my sights toward home.

Even in pursuit of the unknown, somewhere in the back of my mind I always knew that I'd make it home again. Returning was a dream, a goal, a "someday" possibility. Life away from home had given me the courage to actualize my dream. No longer would I just "wish" that I would return home. Instead, I knew that as I pursued my life goals, returning home would be just a matter of time. I needed to plan and be patient. I needed to implement everything that I had learned and put them into motion. And when a way opened up, I needed to be aware of it and then act on it.

And so, here I am in Nanakuli with the threat of a tropical storm in the weather forecast. It's been 1 month and 17 days since I've been home. Already, I've sat under a tree in the backyard with my 11 year old niece, Trayse-Anne, and picked out shapes in the clouds, we took turns reading to each other from a book I bought her from the country store down the road. We walked across the street to the beach where we saw two turtles. We watched the sky turn several different shades of color at the end of the day, and quietly sat in our chairs under the tree as the sun sank behind the mountain until it was out of sight. And just when I thought the summer days were over, she wanted to walk out under the stars and have me point out the Big Dipper.

I ask you, could life be any sweeter than it already is?

I'll let you know. Aloha!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Long Road Home

The sensations of the heart are always the hardest to put into words. While reading Crash's final thoughts about leaving Hawaii and moving to Utah, I couldn't help but feel empathy for her. I had been gone for 9 1/2 years, having spent most of those years in Utah and a few in California. It's been a month and 2 days since I've been home. I still can't believe it!

When my aunt passed away last year, things just seemed to point me in the direction of home. They were subtle directions, which is a good thing, because I happen to be the stubborn type. If the suggestion to move home had been clear and straight forward, I'd still be living in California. Crazy, I know. And it makes no sense whatsoever, but you ask anyone that knows me. Try and make me do something that I may have the slightest aversion to or I'm not ready to accept . . . then, I've got lead feet. And right or wrong, I won't budge. But subtle suggestions, hints, and gentle prodding and I'm puddy in your hands! My poor parents! What a tough time it had to have been raising me!

I was all-kinds of giddy when I landed in Hawaii. The air smelled sweeter and purer than any air I had ever inhaled in my life! As we drove from the airport to Waipahu, I was blessed with the most beautiful rainbow that ever refracted light. I actually told my sister to pull over (on the H-1, during heavy traffic) so that I could get a better picture. Yeah, she told me "No," and kept on driving.
I also said things like, "I can't believe just how green the grass is" and "look how pretty all the flowers are." My sisters told me to knock it off and act like a normal person! Granted, it's out of character for me to act and say the things I had been saying, but I couldn't find the words that expressed how I felt about being home! Sweet air, a beautiful rainbow, green grass, and pretty flowers. Amidst all of that, it was hot, humid and I was sweating buckets! But I was home and happy to be sweating in Hawaii!