These lovely flowers above were on our breakfast plates today at the ocean side cafe we visited. We planned our day today to begin in the "Punch bowl crater" which is just above Pearl Harbor. The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located there. (Again, I was surprised at how quickly we got there from our hotel.... just a matter of minutes). It was another awe inspiring place - quiet and peaceful. There is an overlook trail that gives amazing views of Honolulu and Waikiki as well as Pearl Harbor. Ken was off taking many photos of the Memorial itself (which is breathtaking) and the trees and flowers that line the rows of graves. I had time to just pray and reflect in that sacred spot. It is interesting that visiting a place that neither of our sets of parents ever saw has caused me to think about them so much! Part of the reason is that April marks the anniversary of each of their deaths... my mom (5 years) on the 12th, Ken's mom (7 years) on the 15th, Ken's dad (1 year) on the 17th and my dad (31 years) on the 19th! It doesn't matter how long they have been gone, they are always in your thoughts. As I was sitting in the car, looking at the amazing view, I was thinking about how blessed Ken and I were to have our parents at our wedding.... and these pictures came to my mind.
It was a very long time ago (will be 42 years in May), but in my "mind's eye" this is still how I was picturing them today! So, here we are ....at about the same age as our parents were way back then!
Sitting in a cemetery sure gets you thinking! Ken and I are very, very blessed. We have been able to travel and see so much of our country. This trip takes another state off of our "bucket list" of visiting every state! It is one thing to read about places or even see them on TV or in the movies. It is quite another to actually experience them. My mom always wanted to visit Hawaii. Sadly she never did. Again, I feel very blessed to be able to be here.
I have been shocked by the incredibly large number of homeless people that are everywhere around this island. There are men and women sleeping on the beaches, in the parks and under the trees. They travel around during the day on the city buses or walk along the roads. Today we even saw a place on a very steep cliff where a homeless person had erected a tent and tarps, hanging over the edge with all of their belongings around them. Very scary. And there are very few churches around and we have not seen any shelters or food pantries. The most amazing thing about all of these people around, is that not a single one has been asking for money or food. They seem to keep to themselves and don't bother anyone. But it makes me wonder what the churches are doing to help these people. Traveling around the island gave me a much broader view of Hawaii than just Honolulu or Waikiki. Most of the towns we visited had many, many lower class homes and apartments and many needing serious repair. It left me feeling that Hawaii might be a great place for a mission trip!
Yes, it is good to remember just how blessed we are. There is nothing like seeing another place to make you appreciate your home. As always, it is good to go away but even better to return home.
Our time here is coming to an end. Tomorrow we are going to a Hawaiian Luau! And then we take the long plane ride home. There has been so much that we have seen....so many pictures taken and so many memories to scrapbook in the future. In this tropical paradise with amazing views and with homeless sleeping under the trees..... one thing remains on my mind....
The love and faithfulness of God in Jesus is all that matters! It is bigger than the mountains, it is higher than the sky and more than anything! That is the true blessing!
Jesus, thank you for reminding me of the blessings of our parents. Holy Spirit give wisdom and provision to the churches here in Hawaii to reach the homeless population. Thank you for sunny days and waves and quiet places to help us keep our focus. Keep us mindful of the needs around us. Amen