Some of life’s happiest and saddest moments take place at airports. For me, today was one of the saddest.
I am sitting on an airplane right now, thousands of feet above the sea, and already thousands of miles away from Hawaii.
I can’t believe I’m gone. This whole week has been emotionally draining. I knew the end was coming, I just didn’t want to acknowledge it.
The word “Goodbye” began to flow off the tip of my tongue from saying it so often. Farewells are never fun for me, but these goodbyes have been some of the hardest I’ve ever had to say.
I guess it just feels so permanent.
Yeah, I’m sure I’ll come back to Hawaii often. But it will only be for a week here and there. I won’t live there. I won’t be a part of the IBF church family any more, I won’t see my friends on a daily basis. I won’t be able to drive 5 minutes and see the most breathtaking view I’ve ever seen every day.
I know that change is imminent and eventually, this year of bliss would have to come to an end.
I still feel sure that God has called me to go to seminary next year and I rest assured that He will provide new friends, a new community, and new adventures.
But part of me is nostalgic as my heart aches to turn this plane around and go right back.
I still clearly remember the day I came to Hawaii 10 months ago. I was absolutely thrilled, overflowing with energy. A brand new adventure was in front of me and I was just getting started!
Today felt like the polar opposite of that day.
The normally sunny, beautiful Hawaii was rainy and gloomy all afternoon. It only added to the sorrow I felt inside. I said goodbye to dear friends all day. With each goodbye, my heart ached more and more. Soon it was time to go to the airport. I put my bags in the car and took one last look at the place that has impacted my life so greatly and drove off, not knowing when I will return.
For the most part, I had held myself together up until this point. But after I checked in and had to say goodbye to Joy, Roger, Amy and Karlie, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Roger prayed for us and as he did, tears began to flow.
I simply couldn’t believe it was time to go. I was sad not only about parting with some of my closest friends, but I was sad that this amazing phase of my life is coming to an end.
As I waved goodbye and walked toward the security line, I was crying so hard I was embarrassingly wailing. In the process of trying to crawl under one of the security lanes, I knocked over a pole and made a scene…whoops!
We’ve been in the air about five hours now and I can’t stop thinking about the amazing people I’ve left behind. But I’m beginning to see leaving in a more positive light.
Instead of tears of sadness, my tears now come from thinking about the incredible experience I have had in the past year. I feel like I have changed in many ways. I’ve gained experience and relationships with people from all over the world; People that I really hope to visit in their countries one day.
I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve as a missionary in Hawaii. I could have gone straight to seminary or gotten a job that paid a decent salary. But I wouldn’t trade this year for anything.
This year I’ve been able to live on my own on one of the most beautiful islands in the world. I developed an appreciation for nature I never had before. I faced adventure and went on hikes, traveled to three neighbor islands, explored a volcano, did every type of “diving” possible! (cliff, sky and scuba), began to take better care of myself health and exercise-wise. I learned how to share my faith in a way that is not intimidating like I once thought. Overall, this year has been one of growth and maturity.
Praise God for the work He is doing in my life and for the things He has taught me in Hawaii.
This will most definitely be one of the most memorable years of my life.
The Hawaii chapter of my life may be over, but I’m looking forward to the next steps. I’ll be so happy to be reunited with my family in a few hours and with my Sri Lankan family next week. And seminary is just around the corner.
Thanks for journeying with me,
Friday, May 28, 2010
In just a few hours, I will be leaving Hawaii.
I can't believe I just said that.
This year has been so incredibly amazing. It's hard to even describe the lessons I've learned and the newfound appreciation I have for life.
I'll write a more reflective blog soon, but I wanted to post some of the things I'm going to miss the most about Hawaii.
1. sunshine, sunshine, sunshine!
2. living within walking distance of the beach...and the mountains.
3. eating with chopsticks at all times.
4. watching episodes of F.r.i.e.n.d.s. with friends every night.
5. wearing my bathing suit at all times.
6. having friends from every continent
7. speaking pidgin (or attempting to!)
9. mochi ice cream
10. shave ice...mmm
11. quiet moments at spitting caves
12. peaceful beaches
13. hiking in the most majestic mountains
15. my IBF family
16. being with Karlie 24/7
17. being surrounded by Asian people
18. living in the most beautiful place in the world
19. feeling so close to God just by being outside
20. the breeze, and perfect weather.
the list could go on for days.
This year has been such a blessing and I'll never forget the adventures and experiences I've had here. Most importantly, the people I've come to know as family will remain my friends for a long time.
Aloha Hawaii, it's been a great year.