Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Maui Time

Chad and me in New Orleans

Tomorrow Chad and I will celebrate the 10th anniversary of our engagement. Ten years ago, I woke up at 4:30 in the morning to drive from Amarillo to Dallas to meet him for a surprise Valentine’s date he had planned for us. When I arrived, he took me to the airport where we flew to New Orleans. A limo picked us up in New Orleans and drove us to a beautiful dinner aboard the Creole Queen. After dinner he proposed, and I said, “YES!”

When it came to planning our honeymoon Chad spent months planning a trip to Maui, Hawaii. Having spent three years on Oahu as a Marine, he had made a trip to Maui to explore the island before and he couldn’t wait to show me around. We arrived in Maui after dark, and drove off in a rented convertible. The moon was shining on the water as we drove around the mountain to the guesthouse where we’d be staying the next few days. I thought I was living in the middle of a dream.

We spent the first two days, swimming in the ocean and driving around the island. We even took the helicopter tour across beautiful pineapple fields and waterfalls that can only be seen from the air.

On the next to last day of our trip we planned to drive the road to Hana. The Hana Highway is a 50 mile long stretch of road. Even though it is only 50 miles it takes an entire day to navigate the 600 hair pin turns. Parts of this twisty turning road narrows to one lane and there is no shoulder to speak of, just sheer cliffs off the side of the most lush and beautiful mountains in the world. The drive is the experience. The road leads to a small village with one gas station, maybe two restaurants and some lodging.

We were so excited to take the drive. To get the full experience we popped in the CD with all the historical information narrated by the soothing native woman’s voice. Chad and I laughed as the woman’s dramatic greeting came through the speakers. “Welcome to the beautiful journey!” she went on to name all of the flora we were seeing and smelling. Our hair, or my hair, was blowing in the wind. Everything was absolutely beautiful.

Just before we jumped out to climb into the waterfall, our tour guide stopped to remind us to enjoy every moment, “Just remember,” she soothed “you are now on Maui time.”  The pace of Maui time is just before a full stop. It’s not just going at one’s own pace, it’s relaxing, breathing, taking in the moment with all five senses.

We finally made it to the town of Hana, enjoyed a relaxing meal; then began our journey back around the mountain. About two miles into the drive a guy swung into our lane head on. We were on the outside lane hugging the edge of a mountain. When Chad swerved to the side of the road to avoid a head on collision, we heard a big “CLUNK” and realized we had hit the rocky edge of the road.

Chad pulled the car over to the side of the road to inspect the tires only to realize both tires on the passenger side of the car were blown out. To make things worse we didn’t have the rental car insurance. When we called the rental company they said we’d have to arrange for a tow. We found that the companies who were willing to tow a car on the Hana highway wanted a hefty price.

Chad hung up the phone with the tow company and came to sit in the driver’s seat of the rental car. He turned the key to start the A/C while we thought about our options. On came the pre-recorded tour guide with her silky smooth voice reminding us to take in the beauty all around us because, as she had reminded us all along the way, “You are now on Maui time”.

It turns out that having two blow outs on your car is just as stressful in Maui as it is anywhere, and while there is never a good time or place, the next to last day of your honeymoon and on a treacherous road is not ideal. We went from having the best time to working through a whole series of difficult decisions.

Our fun in Maui was cut short since our minds were now preoccupied with the damages to the car. Our circumstances changed, but Maui stayed the same.

God has a plan, and while He may involve us in one part of this plan for a season, His plan is much more grand and beautiful than what I can see right in front of me. No matter what my circumstances dictate, God stays the same.  He is still on His throne and it serves me well to come back often to the realization of being on “God’s time”. Everyday, I can either choose to trust and obey, or frustrate myself by living short-sighted.

If I could choose today, I’d take the road to Hana again, blowouts and all - just to be in Maui with Chad living on “Maui time”.

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