Today’s post is a bit of a combo platter. A little of yesterday, and a little of today. Enjoy!
Today, I am in Maui. I can see the ocean from my lanai. I am watching the trees and bushes bend in the wind. It’s churning up some whitecaps. The birds flit around actively, collecting leaves and twigs for their nests. I recognize none of them. They are as unfamiliar to me as poi, as are their cries and calls.
We are here to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We got in very late and I am still pretty tired. The sunshine and gorgeous scenery are reviving me, as is just being with Jonathon.
We are staying in Kihei, which appears to be a desert-type climate here in Hawaii. But the desert here is right next to the ocean and it’s incredibily humid out. So…not my idea of a desert.
But I love it. Everything feels alive. The smells of the earth and flowers and sky are all different. The people are very friendly. Out on my 3-mile run this morning, almost everyone greeted me like they knew me. Not used to running in humidity and apparently wearing entirely too many articles of clothing for this pea-soup air climate, I was sweating before I ever left the parking lot of the hotel. But the ocean. Ah. How can the same Washington Pacific Ocean, so cold, forbidding and merciless be the same ocean here in Hawaii? It’s blue and serene and accessible. People are out surfing, sailing, rowing longboats, you name it. With the currents in Washington and Oregon and the much colder water temperatures, you’re taking your life in your hands doing any of that.
And yesterday, we were in Portland. We took Ruby down to do an art camp at my mom’s church for the week. Zac will stay in Shelton with family and friends. I went out to do 5 miles of hills in Mom’s neighborhood. I did hills until I hit the Glendoveer golf course, a lovely spot of green right in the heart of NE Portland.
There’s a 2.5 mile track that runs around the golf course, a saw-dusted doozy of a trail weaving through old cedars and pines. It’s well-used by locals for running and walking.
I set out at about 5:30 a.m. It’s light so early in the Northwest during summer, I thought I should knock out my workout while I had the time and nobody needed me for anything. I hit the trail about 5:45. I thought I would do part of it and then head back down to Mom’s. Well…
I got into a groove on the trail. It wasn’t particularly hilly, but it was scenic and I didn’t have to worry about traffic. I encountered an old black man with his walking stick and a couple of other old guys. I came upon a set of chin-up bars. Really? Like I’m going to suddenly have an urge to chin myself. Anyway, I kept running and then I hit the driving range. Now what? The trail disappeared.
I stopped. I could follow the driving range fence. It was saw-dusted there, too, albeit in a much wider path. I looked to my left. It was paved. Maybe if I got on that path, it would take me back to the fenceline and I could follow it down to the exit.
I took off. The asphalt felt better on my feet – less chance of rolling my ankle – but harder on my knees. I saw plastic bags and places to deposit dog poop and informative signs about it all. The trail looped around. And then it just ended. What now?
I saw another paved path. That looked promising. I followed it ofr awhile. Then it ended. I stopped again. And now? I found an unpaved path that led to a paved path. Each path started out looking good and then ended without warning or explanation. Nothing was marked. I started to figure out the paved paths were for golf carts to run on, and sometimes an extra length was added as a turn-around. This is what I get for not being a golfer. None of the holes were marked, either.
It got me to thinking about our paths in life. We may think we know the way. I sure did! We run off, cocky and self-assured, along an easy trail. Then our guidance system fails us – or completely disappears. We try to figure it out on our own and end up getting more and more lost, like I did. I did remember where the fenceline should be and I kept taking paths that should’ve led me back there…but didn’t.
Finally, I’d had enough. It was getting late. I took off across the perfectly manicured grass (fun to run on, by the way – springy!) and over the rise to the fence. I felt bad about running on the grass that I knew was so carefully cultivated so little divoted balls could sail across it sans friction, but I couldn’t see any other way out. I went back to the plumb line, the level with the bubble in it. I counted the cost.
And that’s what we have to do when we’re in the wilderness and we’ve lost our way. Go back to God. Go back to the user manual, the Bible. Remember He will do you good and not evil all the days of your life. He will bring you through and help you find your way home again. It’s never too late.