Monday, March 31, 2014

Finding What is Beautiful

 My heart goes out to all those enduring the long winter weather in the Mainland. For most of my life, I absolutely despised winter, with the exception of days when I got to ice skate outside or go sledding. However, someone once gave me a reflection on winter that made me rethink it a bit and even come to appreciate the season a bit (Cecilia S., if you are reading this, was it you? If so, I apologize if I get this wrong.) How we approach winter is great practice for how we approach life in general. If we can come to embrace winter, with it's dark, bitter cold, and find real beauty within it, then we can also learn to embrace suffering in the rest of our lives and find beauty in the midst of it. That winter after I heard this, I made it a practice to look for, for the first time, beauty in winter. I found it. I found it in the white and dark blue, almost black contrast of the night. I found it in my neighbors in Eastown, as we would work together in the evenings to dig our cars out of the snow and move them to the other side of the street for the plow trucks. I found it in the snowflakes that looked more like glitter as they glistened and glided under streetlights. Every winter since, I have looked, listened, and felt for something beautiful. Within the suffering that happens in daily life, I have also looked, listened, and felt for something beautiful. I've always found it, even if it took some looking.

Yet, this winter, it seems even those who ordinarily love winter are ready to be done with it. My mom is that kind of person. She has always loved winter, but this one has been rather difficult, to say the least. Fortunately, she had a respite. She came to visit me in Kauai, and it was a wonderful week! We thoroughly enjoyed the island, and most importantly, our time together.

For me it gave me a chance to view the island through fresh eyes and experience it with the best mom ever. I was able to see through a renewed perspective why tourists have almost perpetual smiles on their faces and call our home "paradise." Yes, even in a place as picturesque as the Garden Island, shielded from ice and snow, it can be easy to get caught up in everyday life. The people here are incredible and the aloha spirit is alive and well, but they are not immune to tragedy and heartache. The needs of the parish and school take up a significant part of our days. I both laugh and grieve with my students as I share in their joys and sorrows. So the week with Mom renewed my spirit and was simply fun.

Our extra-rainy rainy season made the waterfalls even better! This is Opaeka Falls.

The sunset at Kekaha Beach, just down the road from our school and parish.
Finally, beloved,whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. -Philippians 4:8

1 comment:

  1. Monica, what an absolutely gorgeous sunset!! You could make cards out of that. I'd even buy one or two or three or more. Loved your blog on "Winter". I had one small yellow winter aconite peek it's head out of the frozen ground cover. Then we had the reading on the blind man. And the little flower said: I was blind...buried under winter's dark cover...but now I see!! There IS light after darkness! Take care.