I’ve recently returned from my holiday on the beautiful island of Maui. I’m taking liberty to borrow the term ‘holiday’ from the British as the glorious days spent there were in all facets of the word – a holiday. I’ve been fortunate to have taken vacations in many beautiful locales, but Maui has given new meaning to where and how I spend precious days away in the future. I plan a post detailing my trip. But on this Independence Day, 2016, my thoughts are in a different direction – yet my recent days on the island have contributed greatly to my perspective on this July 4th holiday at home.
My habit is to set my DVR to record Good Morning, America each day and catch up in the evenings with all that’s going on in the world. And unless you are one of those individuals who have tucked their head in the sand and decided you can take no more of the insanity and uncertainty happening daily, you know what a large dose of detriment to our psyches is being doled out. For the sake of my point, let’s disregard media’s ability to steer opinions and consider only the headlines themselves.
Details aside, I have been watching for many months the devastating weather patterns that have ravaged our country from one side to the other, many perishing in the wake, countless others being robbed of all they own with no idea of how they’ll recover. The horror of attacks across the world, both by terrorists on a large scale and by close members of victims’ own families on an even more hard to understand level. The hatred. Absurdities. And has there ever been a more head-shaking presidential campaign?
All of this and so much more is absolutely mind boggling.
Keep this in mind, and allow me to shift gears for a moment.
Before I experienced it for myself, Maui presented itself in my mind as one of the ultimate tourist destinations – think Disney World with the not-to-miss list of sights to see as the attractions. From that visualization, take away the well paved parking lots with attendants to direct you. Take away billboards luring you to exorbitant entrance fees. Take away hearing sales pitches. And replace all that with God’s green earth, towering vistas, and sparkling blue water as far as you can see from a vantage point that’s always just around the next corner. Yes, there are resort areas – there have to be to accomodate those of us who sojourn there. But the paradise that can easily be described in one word – Eden – is found on your own. Out exploring the island.
And as I explored the island, I brought home a blessing that I was not expecting. There is one side of me that hates the terrible things that are going on in our world today, that the tides of hate may dictate how the balance of my granddaughter’s future will pan out. But there’s also the other side of me that has hope, a hope that I had lost sight of – and possibly never even had – until I was within the spectre of the intensity and power of the beauty on Maui. That beauty is not man-made. And neither is the Bestower of that power. Standing within the breathtaking awesomeness of just one small piece of God’s creation, I felt His power give me the confidence to know that I can be still and know that He is capable of providing the ability for us to rise above the insanities of this world. And the beauty equips us to be partners with the positive, enabling us to carry on.
As we look for the beauties in our days, we need to remember that we are not entitled to the freedoms that we have. Those freedoms have been and continue to be bought with the lives of many soldiers who are out there doing their jobs to ensure that we remain free. It’s easy to get caught up in the monstrosities that plague our world today, to let them make us bitter, or complacent, or reckless, or I could go on and on with the symptoms of our weary world.
But we must make a choice. We are free to make the conscious choice to see the beauty of this world and each person we come into contact with. There’s beauty in each of us because each of us are also one of God’s awesome creations. We are all fighting for independence in one way or another and if we can learn to see independence as a blessing and not a right – without letting hatred be our guiding force – we will begin to see more beauty in our moments. Call me a dreamer, but I believe those moments will begin to spill over onto those around us and we can all be enablers of the positive kind. There’s by far too much of the devastating negative kind.
So choose to be in an independent state of mind – rising above the awfulness of this world – replace the bad with the good – and never forget that there are those always giving their all, sometimes their very lives, to allow us this choice.
Happy Independence Day to you all!