May 28, 2009

Paradise Found

I am writing from a place I had previously not dared to dream that I would be able to personally appreciate.

Right now, I am sitting on a partially covered, open-air veranda that overlooks Waikiki Beach. In my view from my table, I can see the blue Pacific Ocean, white sand, tall palm trees, a sailboat marina, and some of Honolulu's skyscrapers in the background. The air smells of clean, slightly salty moisture, the temperature is far more tropical (and comfortable) than in the air-conditioned hotel. The light is clement, being slightly filtered through the morning clouds, which will be persuaded to dissipate in the afternoon sun.

There are birds singing everywhere...from the trees and from the railings that circumvent the veranda. Nearly all plant life is featuring the floret of its kind, proclaiming praise and no doubt bringing pleasure to its attentive Creator.

And now, as I sit under a corner of the roof, a light rain falls around me, allowing the lush, green foliage an opportunity to refresh itself. The birds have temporarily paused their song, allowing my auditory attention to discover the soft Hawaiian music playing from the hotel.

My usual daily workouts have been replaced with the hula moves I have learned here. I've been practicing early in the morning and have learned the whole song. If you don't know anything about hula, you should try it. I've always thought it was just a series of beautiful movements, but it's so much more than that. It's actually sign language, telling the story of the song. I've discovered that this is my favorite way to sing.

The food here has been a novel and joyful pleasure. Just one of my favorite things I've tried here has been, of course, the fresh pineapple. It's the most flavorful of any I've ever had. But the fresh squeezed pineapple and guava juices are perhaps what I will miss the most.

I suppose every person's idea of paradise is as unique and individual as their own personality. But I have to say this comes pretty close to my idea of perfect paradise on earth.

But here's where I get staggered: This doesn't even come close...doesn't even remotely what God has in store for those who are His. No place on earth can even be a shadow of what I have to look forward to. It's more than we can think or even imagine...

"However, as it is written:
'No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him.'"
1 Corinthians 2:9

It's a strange thought to think that I am literally in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and a six hour flight from anywhere. I am, right now, just as close to Tokyo as I am to the mainland of the United States.

But my God is just as close to me here as He has been at home and since November of 1994 when I first got to know Him. There is no where on earth that I could vacation from my God. And it's certainly not that I would want to.

While my DH has been working, I've had lots and lots of time alone. That's another part of the paradise for me. I was raised an only child, and as such I have always been acquainted with spending time in a singular presence. Being at home with three precious boys each day leaves little opportunity for such delicacies. So though I miss them terribly at times, I am in full appreciation of my time alone here.

One of the reasons I don't mind being alone is because I know of the prestigious Company I keep. He is the epitome of Royalty and Greatness, but I can be myself with Him. He knows me inside and out, through every fiber of my being, and still loves me so much that He gave Himself to conquer death for me. It's while I sit in this earthly paradise, in still solitude, that I can relish such Truth.

Therefore, while I enjoy the temporal things around me, I will set my sights on what is before me, and understand that this beauty around me is only a tangible gift from the King of kings, a token of what is to come.

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18

Rumor has it that the hula song I've learned is the same song they will open the luau with, so I and the other ladies that took the class have been encouraged to take part in the hula. Guess I should go practice some more. :-)



Edie said...

I want to see a video of you doing that hula! :D

Oh I love your description of the island. I'm so thrilled for you even if I am a bit green right now, and I don't mean eco-friendly. LOL!

It does help to know that we will all one day live in an unimaginable Paradise, and it will be forever! Ok, my natural color is beginning to return. Whew!

Hey, do you know Lorie from Encouragement from my heart?
She lives there in Hawaii. Not sure which island.

Anyway you have a great time! (as if you're not) :)

Much love to you my friend!

Elle said...

wow great just great
so glad you could get away and enjoy some of God's creation and some time alone

The Bayou Belles and Their Beau said...

How wonderful!

Robin @ Be Still and Know said...

I have been out of pocket for several weeks. It has taken some time to catch up on all the blogs I have missed.

I'm so jealous. Out of all the places and things to do at the very top of my list is spending time in a tropical place. I think I am a misplaced beach bum, I would gladly sell all my shoes and go barefooted and trade my house for a grass hut any day.

These pictures are to die for, it makes me long for Cancun, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Grand Bahamas...the list is endless. We have never been to Hawaii, but I am hopeful that in time the DH'd frequent flyers miles will pay off and we can get to Maui or one of the other islands.

Just a slice of heaven here on hearth.



sara said...

sounds and looks beautiful!!! my grandparents took me there when I was 14, but I wasn't really old enough to appreciate it all. Some day I would like to go back!

enjoy! and I hope we will be seeing some video on that hula!!

Dena said...

What a beautiful post. I am so happy for you that you are enjoying your trip so much!

Abiding Branch said...

Oh sister!! I am so glad you are getting to experience this time with HIM and your husband too!!! What an awesome gift the Lord has given to you for this time. I pray that this weekend has held some wonderful memories in the making for the two of you!! I know he has worked very hard so that you two can appreciate this time together!!! I can't wait to hear about every detail each time it comes to mind. I know I have put your ears through plenty lol!!!
I love you my sweet sister and look forward to seeing you sometime this summer!!!

Merrie said...

Oh WOW.... What a blessing! So glad you were able to go and enjoy it... it is so beautiful! One day I'll be able to say I was there too....

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Angie said...

This post makes me want to shout GLORY!

So happy for you and your family to have such a wonderful vacation. Just thought I'd check in on you.

Anonymous said...


2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Great post. I'm so happy that you got to do this.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Chel, it's July 14! Speak to us!

Merrie said...

Please come back from Paradise! We miss you here in Blogland!

Edie said...

Hey my little friend. Did you get lost in Paradise? Missing you!!
... But hope you're having lots of summer fun.