My life has been one full of adventures and many paths crossed. These days I seem to be putting together the moments as if they were small jig saw puzzle pieces. The bigger picture of my life is coming together. I do not think we ever truly know what the point is in life but we just live the mystery. I have always been a curious soul reaching, seeking, wondering, researching, questioning. I am learning more and more that my life is mostly about grace. I see the ways I was, who I have become and where my future looks to be going. One can truly never know, of course, but I hope that the rest of my days here on earth are full of grace.
One of my encounters with grace was in Hana, Hawaii. I was living on Maui at the time and every now and then when I wanted to retreat even deeper into myself and into life I would take the long winding road to Hana. It has now become another tourist trap where money is being made off of cheap cheesy t-shirts that state, “I MADE IT! The Drive to Hana”. Back then, it was not cheesy and it was not a tourist trap full of convertible mustangs polluting the pure Hawaiian sea air.
Hana used to be one of my spots that just helped ease my soul and allow me to meditate and relax. I drove to the cute little hotel Bamboo something or other if my memory recalls correctly. No matter the name but it was the man sitting at the little desk when I walked the creaky planks to the entrance who I was paying attention to. I must have looked lonely or confused or maybe he was just being kind to me when he offered his “local pass” to the Hula concert that evening. He said, “Oh I’ve been hundreds of times to these things plus honestly I get bored of seeing the same people day in and day out here. Take my pass and go do something with yourself tonight! Oh and by the way you should go visit Tahiti someday”. I did not exchange many other words with him. I just thanked him, took my key and walked to my room.
I have always been a solo traveler. I do not know why because my soul craves to share my adventures and life with others but for some reason I have just always be a bit of a loner. The irony of my life is that I want so deeply to share with a partner but have not found it, I pray someday I will. Until then, I will just keep having my adventures and sharing them through my writing. I know that I share them with whomever I am present with too so technically I cannot whine too much about not being able to share my life.
When I got to my room I thought I just wanted to lay on the bed and listen to the ocean waves and that I would be ok just being alone. I am not sure if you ever feel this way or not but there are just moments in my life when I am led to certain places or feel the urge to do certain things. That night was one of those nights. I felt called to go to the Hula concert.
I arrived, almost dragging myself, to the concert where there were a bunch of tents set up and tons of people eating. I can read energy pretty well and I just felt stared at. I was being stared at because I looked extremely out of place and probably like I was lost. I tried to act like I knew what I was doing but the more I walked around and observed the atmosphere I noticed I was one of three white people there and I was the only person completely alone. As a side note: I have had this happen to me in many situations and in cultures where it is strange to travel alone as a single woman you get nasty looks, looks of confusion, and sometimes people even ask what is wrong. I remember traveling in Fiji alone and two of the women at the check in counter for the hostel I was staying at asked me what was wrong with me because I was white, a woman and no husband traveling alone. I would hope these stereotypes have changed a little but back then it was what it was.
Back to the Hula concert: So I just observed. I wanted to be a part of their celebration and watch and listen to the music so I tried to make myself as comfortable as possible. I grabbed a paper plate and loaded my plate up with food and sat down. It was one of those strange moments in life. I felt like the dorky high schooler at the cafeteria who no one wanted to sit next to. I found a little spot at the edge of one table and proceeded to eat my food. The music started playing and the dancing began. It was beautiful.
An older gentleman approached me as I was stuffing my face. I looked up at him and he said, “Would you like to join us?” He pointed to a group of people laughing and eating. I just smiled and nodded my head. “Thank you”, I said quietly and walked behind him to the table. It was nice to feel brought in from the cold. I do not mind being alone and doing my own thing but sometimes that craving for connection and family is overwhelming. It was nice to feel that from this man and his family. He went around the table and introduced himself and his family. “Sam, that’s my name” he said strongly. He went on what felt like a 20 question rampage but I was happy to share. He asked me why I was there alone and what I was doing. I told him, “Basically I am just here for peace. The man at the Bamboo Hotel gave me his pass and so here I am”.
The rest of his family sort of ignored me after the questions were answered and that was ok with me. Sam and I made a connection. I do not know how to describe it other than it felt like a father sheltering his daughter for a moment. I have always been socially awkward and have to almost force myself to be “normal”, like do not say anything weird or strange and check out their environment as to not disturb their beliefs or systems. I have always been very respectful of people and their space but that kind of makes me also awkward. Sam made me feel very welcomed that night as we chatted about his daughter and how she loved photography and that she was getting ready to go to college. I asked about his lifestyle and living in Hana as it is so remote and very small. He explained how it was his home and that he would never leave again. He told me that he left when he was younger to go “see the world” and that the world was great but that there was no place like home.
I started crying when he shared that with me. I could feel it from his heart and it was something that I had never ever felt. I do not know if I chose this path or if it was chosen for me but I have never had a home base. Growing up I moved every two years of my life so never really knew what HOME was. I always thought basically my parents were home. Home was not a place but the people in my life. It made me contemplate how temporary that was. People leave, places (for the most part) stay. I wondered if I would ever find my place.
Sam made me realize how special it is to have a place and people to share it with. The rest of the evening I just sat and watched his family interact. The children were laughing and giggling, running around playing tag. The aunties and uncles playfully joking with each other even some of them standing up and dancing to the music. They ate and ate and ate some more laughing and talking story. There was a lot of joy that night. I got to be a part of that and I am forever grateful to Sam for that.
I gave Sam a hug and thanked him for being kind to me. He told me that I was always welcome there. I walked back to the hotel and back onto the beach where I sat by the shoreline and listened to the waves gently slapping at the sand. I wondered if I could ever feel and experience what Sam and his family had. Maybe it was not mine to experience in this lifetime. I am still not sure to this day. It’s something that is pressed deep into my heart and soul and I feel blessed that I get to see it and know the feeling of it. I hope someday I will be able to have it and share it.