|Posted on November 10, 2015 at 8:45 PM|
In general, as Americans, I do not think that a single one of us can claim that we have nothing to be grateful for. We are privileged. Especially for me, as a Colorado born woman living in Hawaii amongst many cultures, some indigenous and others from over seas, I am constantly reminded of how privileged I am. Hawaii is a common ground for many who traveled here generations ago to work for the Dole Plantation, or for local farms and some for the cane fields. These are cultures that derived from third world countries, where poverty was their motivation to flee to the land of Aloha, out of a necessary means to provide for their families. This molded Hawaii into a hub that is desperately clinging to its Hawaiian traditions, while there is a wide variety of cultures embarking on it. I heard someone describe Hawaii as “A third world country, with first world amenities.” Many see Hawaii only in movies or in pictures in magazines, but the reality of Hawaii is so different than many will ever know, and it takes living amongst the people to fully understand it.
My husband is a local boy who grew up on the North Shore of Oahu. His favorite memories involve his dad fishing with him early in the morning, tending to his roosters, and living in Haleiwa in a communal home with his entire multigenerational family and only fire to heat the water for their single outdoor shower. My husband is a man, that came from a life that some would describe as little or maybe even lacking, but with his big heart and open eyes, he sees his life growing up as having everything. He grew up having the values of a world that has long been passed on the mainland and usually is only found in small farming communities. They value family above all and honor God with their thankfulness no matter what. This is what drew me in about the Islands, the people. This is what is TRUE Hawaii is.
It is no secret that living in Hawaii is hard. With prices of food, the ratio of supply and demand with housing out of balance, and the difficulty in finding suitable work, making a living is better described as, “Completely remolding your standard of living”. I ,for one have gone from my single days in Colorado in a 1 bedroom apartment for about $500 a month right in the heart of the most desirable part of town, to now looking for a rental, for my WHOLE family, and considering a 1 Bedroom apartment, for over $1800 a month. For most, when they realize that remolding standards and changing life styles are a necessity to survive here, they usually decide to leave. Like I said, Hawaii is not only what you see in the Magazines. Others, like us, come to a point where they see what Hawaii is about, and they deem it as necessary to be where their souls feel called. And the life style change for me has been a wonderful process of simplification, that I think many could benefit from.
Leaning on God has been something I have struggled with for years and now, slowly God is working on my heart, gently as He always is. I cannot even count the amount of times where my husband and I looked at each other knowing full well that our bank account and ice box were empty, and prayed that we could make it another week in this condition. Seems impossible, even to me sometimes, but with out fail, every time God stretches our food, and reminds me that the Spirit of Aloha is abundant here in Hawaii. I cannot even count the number of times our family has been invited to a cook out and my husband’s aunty will send us home with enough home cooked food to last us through until the next pay day, in fact she insists and will pile your arms full of food as you're walking out the door, simultaneously kissing you on the cheek. If that weren't a blessing enough, our neighbors and friends continually bless us with fruit, avocados, mangoes, eggs, and the funny thing is, is that we haven't told any of them that we were worried about having food to put on the table. This is the culture in Hawaii. It is hard for everyone here, and yet everyone gives and shares and cares for their family, their neighbors, their friends, and people they do not even know. The spirit of Aloha, I have no doubt, is just another name for the Holy Spirit. Every time I return to the homeland, I will step off the plane and the Holy Spirit will sweep over me, uncontrollable tears of Joy flow, sometimes with out me even realizing!
On the days that the pressure of life seems to get to me and my husband, we will stop what we’re doing, head to the beach to catch a sunset and in that moment, God gently reminds us the TRUTH of His amazing presence we have unlimited access to! The indigenous flowers here have time and time again been used for the Lord to speak to me, to guide me, and to fill my heart with so much joy. Hawaii, is not like it is in movies, or in magazines, because if you live here, and you struggle here, and you bond together with the local people, then you know that it is so, so much better! I wouldn't want to live anywhere else right now and I am so grateful that God continues to be our provision in EVERY aspect of our lives!
I pray that more people get to experience this Spirit of Aloha and that it contagiously spreads for generations to come!