Well, here I am, back at my desk in Michigan. The sky is grey and I have my furry slippers on instead of flip flops. While I was on vacation in beautiful Hawaii, I wrote about how easy it was to find joy and beauty in everything. And I was going to work harder on that when I got home. I’m working on it. Hard.
On vacation I learned firsthand that there can be so much sadness in a beautiful place. When I wrote the blog two weeks ago about the beauty I was experiencing, we were in Maui. After that we went to Oahu. While Oahu had many beautiful places to explore, it also had some real sadness right along the shore of that beautiful, famous beach in Waikiki. Homeless people. A lot of homeless people.
It was especially heartbreaking when we witnessed the mental illness and addiction many of them deal with. I just felt helpless; there were so many. They had their own way of life and some of them seemed perfectly happy with it, while others were obviously not good with it at all. We did not feel threatened in any way and they did not beg or hold up signs asking for money. It felt like the locals and homeless had quietly accepted this way of life.
We had to walk past a large park every night to get back to our hotel and that is where they camped at night. There were signs everywhere that said “Park closes at 10:00 pm,” but there were so many, I think the police just decided to look the other way. We asked a local man why there were so many and he said, “They have no where else to go.” It’s warm there, they have a community that watches out for each other, and they simply have no where else to go. Heartbreaking.
Every night, we would see this beautiful, young girl sort of dancing in her own little world. It was obvious she was high on something. One night we decided that if we saw her and she seemed approachable (not high) we'd ask if we could buy her a meal because she was so painfully thin. Well, we saw her and she was not approachable. She was wildly dancing and declaring in a loud voice she was Jesus!
As she got louder and louder, starting to get in peoples' faces and angrily saying she was Jesus, two homeless men put their arms around her and gently led her to a space off the busy sidewalk. They knew her name and they obviously cared so much for her. The guy we spoke to was right, this group of people look after each other.
I looked at Craig, with tears in my eyes, and said, “She is somebody's daughter!” He was as upset as I was and we had a very quiet walk back to our hotel.
It really had me reflecting. As a little girl, I would often wonder and sometimes ask God why was I born here in stupid Jamestown, Michigan. I felt like I should have been somewhere more exciting, like Florida or California!
Little did I know, at that young age, how lucky I was. To have parents who loved me, a roof over my head, and being brought up in the church. I had no idea that I was going to grow up and at some point become an alcoholic. An addict.
I'm pretty sure this beautiful girl in Hawaii didn't know that she was going to be a drug addict either. Why did I get the blessing of recovery and the new beautiful life I have, and not her? I don’t know that answer, but I do know this. I am thankful, so thankful. I try not to take my life for granted in any way, but sometimes I need to be reminded to stay humble and thankful.
Beautiful Girl (I’m going to just call her that since I don’t know her name) and I have more commonalities than just being addicts. She is a child of God, just like you and me. I’ve been praying for her. I pray that she has the opportunity to get the help she needs and ultimately gets to know our Savior. I pray the Angel Army surrounds her with a love she has never felt before. I will probably never know her fate, but I do hope to see her at heaven's gates someday.
Remember my words for this year? Authentic Dedication. I am dedicated to praying for Beautiful Girl. It's praying blind, the hardest kind of prayer. I will probably never know how my prayer is being answered and that has to be okay. We serve a God who loves ALL his children, no matter where we're at. He is waiting patiently and will always welcome us with open arms, no matter where we’ve been.
If you're struggling with anything, (If you have nothing - congratulations, you're perfect!) know that he is waiting for you to bring it to him. No matter if it is a physical struggle, emotional baggage, or spiritually feeling very alone, bring it to the cross. Talk to him, he is the best listener ever! If something is on your heart you feel helpless about, bring it to him - like I have with this girl. Prayer can sometimes be the last resort, but it should be at the top of the list because it is the most effective.
This is one of my favorite pictures from our vacation. A double rainbow over the city of Waikiki to remind us of God's promise in Genesis 9:16:
"When the bow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature—every mortal being that is on earth."
I look at this rainbow above the city and know that my God, my God who is so big, has the whole world in his hands. Including Beautiful Girl.
Peace on your weekend,