October 28, 2004
Seeing Paradise through Different Eyes
Outrigger canoes and team tents line Hilo's Bayfront on Sunday, Aug. 15, the last day of the 2004 IVF Hilo World Sprints competition. In back is Wailoa River State Park in the center of Hilo. The aerial photo was taken from a Blue Hawaiian tour helicopter. The international competition drew more than 1,500 paddlers.
This photo has become famous, its a view of the canoe launch from the air and what a great sight it is. Many have told me that they didnt realize that Hilo was so beautiful... Of course that is because they are Local long term residents and have been here so long that they fail to see the beauty of their home. I understand this too well.
While in Ohio we ran into this all the time. Once people realized that we were from Hawaii they would gush and wonder why we were there and how did we like it and they were really shocked when we told them that we loved the country and the turning leaves and the golden fields that were being harvested and that they were lucky as Hawaii is beautiful but your home has beauties all of its own... Most would dwell on the winters and the cloudiness...
Just as I have dwelled on our difficulties, I suppose. But one cannot live on Cachet, the cachet that Hawaii brings...In Ohio part of the beauty was the fruitfulness of it all, the good inexpensive food ( I gained 10 more pounds... Uggh I am gigantic!) Every "tourist" attraction we visited was free, no one trying to make a buck off us...
Yes Ohio has its tremendous problems. They have lost much of the heavy industry they once had to off shoring of the jobs...People are angry about it..." Yeah there are jobs if you want to work at WalMart!" they would tell us... Here in Hawaii, we have the lowest unemployment in the states cause we all work for the government or Walmart or both!...
They are a bitter battle ground state with 95 percent of they voting population registered to vote... but there is one catch. Some counties have more voters registered than there are eligible citizens. The lawsuits are being filed, and things are under investigation ... Corruption is everywhere and not just here in the Aloha State... Where I think they biggest source of corruption is the horrendous apathy among the voters here.
We saw cheap land, good cheap land, and good houses that wouldn't cost a lot... but there has to be a job waiting or forget it... When we told people what the price of milk is and how much houses cost and things like that, they agreed that life is good there. When we spoke of the 4% tax on everything you buy or sell, they were aghast... and saw that life was very good for them...
Then there is winter. Three months of it. Snow ice and subzero... Burr! But with out that cold you would have no flowers or fruit trees. No green fields or autumn leaves... Its all a part of it... when I said this to my incredulous listeners they agreed that this was true and they had a new insight into something they have been taught to run away from since babyhood. Cold weather... like its a curse or something. We met many retirees who had once moved to Florida then moved back to Ohio saying how much they missed the life there. I thought to myself..." and the culture and the medical care and the cheap groceries and housing costs..."
Is it true then that we all want what we cannot have?
Woody went to check in with his employer to get his hours for next week only to find that he was suspended because someone at the dump complained that he wanted them to clean up the spilled trash they had dumped all over... Woody laughed at his boss and asked if the local guys that sleep on the job and dont show up get suspended. We know of dozens of cases of this stuff that the State people are upset about and no discipline to those slackers why??? They are related to the boss... Because Woody missed more than a week of work he has lost his medical coverage until he works 4 weeks of 20 hours and no one is saying if they will put him back on the roster. Because they say he is still employed he isn't eligible for unemployment. Its dirty trick and Im surprised he didnt cuss them out and quit... He's at the point where he might.
While in Ohio, Woody admitted that he sees this "Paradise" we live in as his prison. A place where he has been abused and where he will never be able to be himself. He gets angry and takes it out on me with the silent treatment, and admitted that he knows that this is wrong...but its how he feels... He misses the mainland, sports, golf his friends and his life there. I told him that I am not keeping him here and if he wants to move than lets do it. God above I love this place but not to the place of self destruction... So its in Woody's court. He has been different for the last three weeks, I think its good. He seems motivated to be the husband finally...
Woody thinks Ohio is Paradise. He sees himself in the other people he met. In the pace of life and the openness that we experienced. He likes the idea that he might be able to get a job there that would allow me to stay home and do what I love to do in a place that would allow me to do that. I love being outside, gardening and having time to meditate, none of that is currently possible. Here, churches have been closed to us as Malahini, newcomers that are not committed to staying in the community and therefore not worthy of personal investment... Either you burn yourself out trying to convince them you are committed or they ignore you till you leave. We had a dozen invitations to worship in the 17 days were there. I think that speaks volumes.
I see a challenge coming, maybe the biggest one of my life, and only God can get me through it. I told Woody that I would go to Ohio if he wanted to go there. He will have to be the driving force not me as this is not going to be a picnic by any means. But I think that God will honor this as I see it as truly the submission that is Biblical. The husband makes a decision that is for the family good and has the final say. It is right... Its for our mutual good.
Paradise is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes its a matter of seeing the Paradise in the unexpected and the ordinary... I feel that I have that gift and know that it will stand me in good stead in the coming days.