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. :-)