Sunday, June 12, 2016

Potholes On The Road To Paradise

This is NOT what I signed up for!

The road is narrowing as we drive along. 
We can’t turn around even if we tried. 

The mud from the morning rain is making the car slip and slide and the sugar cane fields on either side are so overgrown I feel like we are in a remake of Children of the Corn!

I've watched reruns of Hawaii Five-0...Danno and McGarrett aren't gonna solve this is in 43 minutes plus commercials! 

No one knows where we are. 
Why did I agree to this?  
The man I love and trust with my life is driving the car -- shouldn't I just trust him? 

Did I mention this is a rental car? 

They make you sign an agreement ya know.

Why did it not strike us as odd that people had to sign a paper promising not to go "off road" with the rental car. Off road? 

This is a road. Or at least when we started driving it was! 
    •Did the man who gave us directions hate us because we were 'Haoles' ? 

    •Why did we trust him? We’d never met. 

    •Was he sending us into a trap? I'd told him we were broke...right? 

    •Was he really disturbed by the stupid questions from this tourist couple from                  Oklahoma? 

What if we get stranded thousands of miles from home? 

We have a 32 ounce quick stop iced tea and a can of Pringles.

We aren’t armed. We have no money. No cell phone.
No resources to get out of here except this rental car --  clearly violating the rental agreement and about to be sunk in the mud. 
God, do you know I feel fear? I don't want to go any further!

Nearly in tears now, heart racing, I want to scream at this man behind the wheel, “Take me back…I don’t want to go any further….I’m afraid!” Someone please call Chin Ho Kelly or Kono! Tell 'em I'm thinkin' we need their Op Gear!

As my good lookin', bench pressin'- weight liftin' - protective and quite determined husband continued to drive...he reached over and touched my knee and said, “Kathy...Trust me!”

Suddenly in front of us -- a sand dune signaling the end of the line. We could not drive any further and the pot holes and mud slide would not allow us to turn around so, we had to go to the side of the dune.

In the middle of muddy-gonna get stuck-no help-no phone-scary-nowhere…Richard asks me to get out of the car. 

Umm...Had he recently taken out an insurance policy I was clearly unaware of? 

He took my hand and helped me climb over the first of two fairly steep sand dunes. I could hear loud roaring then crashing that sounded familiar but unclear. I was looking down at my feet to secure my footing… when I heard Richard gasp. “Babe….You gotta see this!” 

I looked up to see the end of the terrain jetting out into a sea. The landscape was spectacular. I was staring at the same type of view which left one Captain asking 'Why is all the Rum Gone?" in a recent box office hit pirate movie. 

The sun beams reflected off of the white sand of a secluded beach which stretched further in both directions than my eyes could see.

Just as our reliable local described…we were alone -- in paradise -- well sort of.

There were two surfers on the waves riding in with style. One in his 60’s and possibly his grandson about 20 years old.

As Richard and I were dealing with the difficulty of managing 2 years of unemployment following 9/11, we did what every financially responsible broke couple would do for their 20th anniversary. 

We flew to Hawaii.

Yep! It was a trip that Richard secretly planned for me as a Christmas/Anniversary surprise. Well, SURPRISE...we have no money! 
The trip had been planned and paid for before he lost his job as an aerospace engineer. After 9/11 no one wanted to fly and many workers were laid off including my husband!

My parent's (who helped Richard plan the surprise) Christmas gift was a week's help with our kids so we could go on this trip.

We spent our first night on Oahu then on to the beautiful Island of Kauai. When we arrived at the fantastic hotel, I made a b-line to the concierge. I looked him right in the eye and said, “We are broke, we have no idea why we are here, but we are here for 7 days with barely enough money to eat at McDonalds! Our anniversay is New Year's Eve...
Please...tell me where you would go if you where in our situation…and please…forgive me that I probably can’t even tip you fairly for the information.” 

The young man’s shoulders dropped and he was silent. I thought to myself, “Boy did I just mess up! I warned him that I probably couldn't tip much before I ever got the info!”

 He smiled and asked, “Do you mind a little adventure?” 

He began to describe the things he and his friends would do to avoid the tourists when they were hanging out.

Our list of instructions included some very cool local eating places-which mostly consisted of little houses with a grandmother cooking for a few people sitting around her table as she worked -- how to get in to the cool part of where Jurassic Park was filmed, and directions  to "the real paradise" for our Anniversary!

We ate our first meal of Somen noodles and chicken cooked over a flame and then served on a stick for 5 bucks -for both of us- While 9 very tanned locals with sunkisted hair watched us curiously. They ate Somen with chop so much! Spoon for this Haole girl! Face Palm!

We had a great week! We spent time alone and made memories that a tour bus and shopping outlets would never have given us! 

Our anniversary day came and we followed the detailed directions to "the real paradise"…and by detailed I mean:

“Okay, Auntie, Find the sugar cane field just south of town and drive into the middle of it... turn left when you see Toothless Old Pete. He usually sits next to the road and laughs at tour buses dat get stuck. His dog has teeth, but he won't bite you - Pete Might try to bite don't get out of the car. Just follow the potholes to the dead end and you walk right to a 'choke' of white sand!  ( -- there's choking involved?) You won't need much of anything but wear a swimsuit and take towels or sand mats and something to snack on...oh and...water and dat’s all you need, well except maybe a spare tire and a hatchet or machete! Bodda you?”   I figured out that meant  'does that bother you?" My need for a machete...should bother me...RIGHT?  This girl has fought in martial arts competitions back in "the day"...I can fend off an unarmed woman from ages 17 to 35 and maybe still give Ol' Pete a roundhouse kick to the neck if needed...but...a hatchet? Seriously!

Well okay then...'Lesgo'!

And it was exciting...until...It wasn't!

After quite a drive through a nice part of the island, we stumbled on to the abandoned sugar cane factory. We turned left where the guy told us to turn. Red mud! lots of wet pot holes and red mud!

 I began to focus on the potholes, the mud, the overgrown sugar cane, the lack of money, the evidence of possible isolation and danger because of the fact that we were now near an abandoned missile base and still contemplating all the possible reasons we may need a hatchet…and don't forget toothless Old Pete and his dog...I lost sight of the destination at the end of the journey. I was having what our Hawaiian fried might say was  a 'Haad Rub'!

He had given clear directions. It was described so perfectly. We knew -- he told us it would be difficult but that the end result would be amazing! So why was I afraid?

Do I do that in my journey with GOD? 

Do I lose sight of the end game? Do I forget He said it would be difficult but worth the journey?
Do I fail to believe that His promises are true? 

Do I focus on spiritual potholes?

Do I
Focus on the mud slung at me because of my faith, my race, my differences, my past,  my present?

 Do I
 Assume the worst by doubting and mistrusting others?

 Do I
 Forget to love and be kind and forgiving?

 Do I
 Worry over bills that crowd in like overgrown sugar cane fields?

  Do I
  Allow isolation -- fear -- uncertainty --  new situations to paralyze me instead of challenge me on life's  adventures?

  Do you?

What is happening in your life...right now...that is keeping your focus off of the exciting adventure? 

-A Job?
-No Job?

Are you letting uncertainty paralyze you?
Just like Ol' Pete...Those fears are toothless in the presence of Our Mighty God!

I trust Richard. I know him and love him and he has proven to be a good leader and protector.Why did I begin to fear on our journey down that road?

I trust God. I know Him and love Him and HE has proven to be a faithful leader and protector.Why do I begin to fear on this journey when things seem difficult, unfamiliar or uncertain?

It is during these times, God  reaches over to me...puts his hand on my knee and says, "Kathy...Trust ME!" 

When my focus is on Him, my journey will truly be a wonderful adventure!

Richard and I celebrated our 20th anniversary that day with the white sand, the majesty of the ocean, the beauty of the Island, two surfers to entertain us, ice tea and Pringles. What more could a girl ask?
It was one of the most precious days we’d ever spent together...and I almost called it off... out of fear...because of a few potholes on the way to paradise.

Creator, help me to rely on your direction and your promise to love and care for me. You have promised that you will finish the work you have begun in our lives. You've promised an amazing adventure at the end of this journey. May I focus on the promise of one day seeing you face to face? Until then, let me enjoy this adventure. There were those who "fell away" and "walked with you no more" even after watching you perform miracles. Please give me strength to continue to trust you and walk with you...even when the journey is difficult.

I Thank You.

Deutoronomy 5:32-33
So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 Walk in obedience to all that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.

Barking Sands Beach
Kauai, Hawaii



We were supposed to return for our 30th anniversary, but as many of our readers know, Kathy was in a level one trauma care unit for 62 days during that time. After 2 surgeries (which left scars that make her swimsuit modeling career a long shot and the new McGarrett and Danno's scars seem like scratches) and coming out of a coma...Hawaii had to wait!
She was planning a surprise for Rich -- to go back to this very spot.
Thanks to all who prayed during this difficult time!
Recovery was a blessing and all is well with K, but in August of this year Rich had a tear in an artery in his neck, a stroke, leaving medical bills and a change in plans.

Again, relying on the Lord to help us see the beauty in the journey not just at the end of the road!
Hawaii, we miss you!  Maybe next time the Big Island and then Oahu!
In the meantime our son has introduced us to binge watching the New Hawaii Five-0! Kathy got to see a couple of episodes in the hospital and Rich owned the whole boxed set of the original series before it was even cool again.

We may even try to get Rich to the next season's "Sunset on the Beach" premiere! Go check them out this season on CBS!
Thanks for reading and sharing!


Kathy and Richard
A Gentle Answer Ministries

This post published before our daily news devastated our nation.

This day has been etched in history as one of hate and fear and terror.  Please join in continued pray for our Nation, Orlando and the community leaders both spiritual and political.  We must learn love...   love cast out fear and fear is simply the absence of understanding someone who is different that oneself.    

Courage, peace, faith, hope to you.
May the God of All Creation ...Heal Us!


1 comment:

Ryan Shelton said...

Great post. There is no place on earth like this!

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