As I write this, I am sitting in the BWI airport in Linthicum, the town which used to be my home. For the first time in my life, I am departing from this airport to go home. Surreal. When we moved to Hawai'i in 2009, we drove to California and flew to Honolulu. This summer's visit to the mainland was due to the Association of Classical and Christian Schools' Conference in Durham, North Carolina. A timely blessing to be challenged and charged and changed as we prepare for the next school year. After the conference, a friend and I drove back to Maryland for a whirlwind visitation of friends and family. I stayed at my mother-in-law's home in my old apartment. The coziness and homey-ness of this apartment was a primary focus for 22 years of my life. I knew every square inch of it, dust and all. Over the years we placed hooks, shelves and little touches everywhere and even made a mosaic in the bathroom sink to fix a crack in the porcelain. My home was my artistic outlet. But as I climbed the stairs, slid the door open and entered the hallway, I knew that this apartment was no longer my home. I looked into the boys' room, where Legos once lined the floor and pictures of Teddy Roosevelt once hung on the wall, but it wasn't home. I looked in the robin's-egg-colored girls' room where Lydia once played dollhouse while Laura once made jewelry, but is wasn't home. And the living room which I once constantly rearranged to create a space that invited conversation and contemplation was also not our home. My family was in Kaneohe; that's our home. That little rented single-wall construction house is our home. That island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, where the temperature is always just about perfect, where the water and mountains compete for shock and awe is our home. That small school, that small church , that small community is where we feel called.
It was a precious gift to see friends and family for the few days that I was here. Without a moment of awkwardness, we picked up where we left off. We were only been separated by land and sea, and with that our of the way, we forged ahead, catching up, reconnecting. Hours of said reconnecting combined with late nights and early mornings have left me physically exhausted but emotionally charged for the challenges we face in Hawai'i. The challenges are not taken lightly. Establishing trust with hurting families can be discouraging. However, watching families embrace the concept of shepherding their children into adulthood is invigorating. Attempting to develop a curriculum that is respectful to the Hawaiian culture and other Eastern cultures, without turning our backs on the West is a balancing act. However, seeing the progress we've made in such little time is testimony that God is at work. Transitioning from one method of education to a new one is harder than starting from scratch. However, seeing God build the vision for classical and Christian education throughout the school is faith-building. Perhaps most daunting, the economic times in our community, like the rest of America, force us all to get on our knees. Without His blessing, our task is impossible. But with God, all things are possible. Possible, but not easy. Possible, but not always understood. Possible, but not without sacrifice. For me, all of these challenges make the ministry we're involved in the perfect place to be.
Our adjustment to this perfect place was accompanied by our fair share of culture shock in moving to the most remote location in the world. In October, when Autumn arrived in Maryland and Summer stayed in Hawai'i, I was homesick. I fell asleep walking the streets of Linthicum in my head. In December, when the blizzards hit Maryland and sunshine hit Hawai'i, I was homesick. When church was over on Sundays, and everyone went their separate ways, I longed for our regular potluck in the basement of our Pasadena church. So, I expected to feel a twinge of regret when I returned to my home in Maryland. And, I expected to be sad to leave Maryland to return to Hawai'i. I was surprised to discover the peace I had about living in Hawai'i. I'm excited to go back to sandals, shorts and "shave ice." I'm excited to watch my children grow up knowing that we made a choice to be here in ministry. I'm excited to be a tiny part of His work in the East. I'm excited to work alongside my husband, who led this crazy expedition. My plane is about to depart so I must close. I'm excited to be on my way home.