Thursday, April 11, 2024

Hawaii I Love you

In December of 2003, a month after Becky went home to heaven, I decided to visit the place of my birth and youth. I was obviously at a major crossroad in life. I had spent the first 19 years of my earthly existence on the island of Oahu. I felt like I needed to tap the brakes and slow my pace a little. So I returned to Hawaii. I've been doing that annually ever since. I spent time driving roads I had driven hundreds of times in my teenage years. I drove to the campuses where I had gone to school. I drove to the church where I had come to know Christ when I was 8. I visited the place where Becky and I had spent our honeymoon in Kailua and the beaches we swam in together. I loved it. I felt like I was 24 again as I lingered in places where my bride and I had spent the first weeks of our married life together. Memories engulfed me. It was a trip down nostalgia street. I'll never forget those days with Becky. 

As I walked along Kailua Beach, I thought about how long we'd shared our lives together and all we had been through. The heartbreaks. The disloyalty of those we thought we were exceptionally close to. The ugly criticism of those who didn't even know us. The heartbreak of cancer. All that begins to take a toll on you. Then I thought about all we had been able to accomplish together. When you mix the good and the bad together you come up with a thing called "marriage." For 37 years, Bec and I had a love relationship. It was remarkable. Our marriage wasn't based on how many acres we farmed or how many trips we had made to Ethiopia together. It was based solely on how deep was our love for each other. I knew B so well that I could finish her sentences, and vice versa. 

Today I finalized this year's trip back to my home state. My visits to Hawaii have not ameliorated the trauma of losing Becky. Only God can do that. Still, on every visit to Kailua, I find myself enriched by rehearsing our marriage journey and reflecting on all the good that came out of that experience. All losses are difficult. Each inflicts a unique kind of pain. What makes each loss so unbearable is its irreversible nature. Losing Becky 10 years ago was and will remain a difficult chapter in my life. But the whole of my life has been enriched by it. As it turned out, God had indeed meant it for good. I have found a new life that is truly amazing and filled with lovely memories.