Monday, April 13, 2015

From One Paradise to Another: the Hawaii Overview and Spiritual Insights

I am back from a long journey--faithful readers may not have realized that I was gone, since I left posts scheduled to go up.  Or perhaps faithful readers said, "Hey, she's not writing every day like she usually does."

My family tries to go on a big trip every few years (while we're all alive and able to travel and able to make our schedules sync), and this year, we headed to Hawaii.  It was a wonderful trip, although the plane trip feels ever more arduous.

For an overview of the trip, see this post on my creativity blog.  In this post, I want to think about my trip from a spiritual standpoint.  Today's post will be more of an overview than an in-depth exploration.

--Although we were at a resort, we did more than relax in the sun.  I was glad that we had a chance to explore and appreciate the natural world of the island of Oahu, both by day and night.  We went on a great boat trip, where we saw all sorts of marine life.  Some of it is similar to our marine life in our backyard sea.  But we also saw Hawaiian Spinner dolphins and sea turtles and even a whale, which I assume was on its way back to Alaska.

--The natural landscape is breathtaking.  All sorts of mountains and clouds and sunsets to make me remember to appreciate the diversity of creation.

--We also got to appreciate the night sky in a way that I usually forget to do.  The moon was full for part of our trip, and I loved seeing the moon full in a new location.  I also had fun watching it set.

----We also had an astronomy tour.  A NASA ambassador set up some very powerful telescopes and showed us some wonderful objects, up a bit closer.

--Part of me still expects to see Hubble-type images when I look through those telescopes.  I am surprised to look through powerful telescopes to see stars that look like specks--larger specks than I can see with my naked eyes, but tiny still.

--Several days, I got up just before dawn to try to see the Southern Cross, but it was always too overcast.  Still, there was beauty to behold in the pre-dawn light.  I said a prayer of gratitude.

--We did a bit of driving around the island.  I was surprised by how few churches I saw--very different from the landscape of the Southern U.S. mainland.  One church simply labeled itself Protestant.  The Catholic church had a statue of Jesus, complete with several leis.

--Since the Lutheran church was on the other side of the island, we decided to create our own worship service.  More on that later.  Suffice it to say that it was very moving.

--There was an Easter worship service on the grounds of the resort, which was surprisingly well-attended.  We thought about going, but we'd already created our own, and we wanted to do that instead.  But it did make me wonder about local churches in my own resort community, and how we might minister to the travelers passing through our midst. 

--I loved staring out of the plane window.  What an amazing planet!  Again, I'm struck by the diversity, by the wonders of creation.  It makes me have new appreciation of the creator who made it all.

--Airplane travel tests my resolve to see my fellow humans with love and sympathy.  It seems a metaphor for all sorts of spiritual disciplines and tests.  I suspect this topic has already been covered by better theologians than me.

--There were many times when the noise and bustle of a resort was almost too much.  I was glad for the peaceful times of pre-dawn.  I wondered if Hawaii had many retreat centers.  Some day, I might like to experience one.  I suspect there would be an Asian influence, which could be good.

But overall, it was a great trip. It's good to travel, to make that effort, to see how other parts of the world live (and even in a resort, we see glimpses).  It helps renew my appreciation of both my home and the wider world.

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