The Sign on Opportunity's Door

Posted by Ryan on Sunday, May 13, 2007

Well, here we are in Hawaii!

The house is beautiful, albeit not completely finished. The ocean sings us to sleep at night. The weather is warm and sunny. We have no television except to watch a couple of DVDs that we brought. We have no stove, no microwave, no oven, no carpet, no air conditioning. We brought a very limited set of toys. Our balcony extends above the wave breakers and sea turtles pop their head out of the bay that we overlook. Lizards climb about the walls and rocks and feast on the many active mosquitoes. Food and household items cost about twice what they do on the mainland. Walmart and Costco are an hour away.

The lazy Kamehameha Highway separates our road from the Hawaii temple and from BYU-Hawaii, which each stands as a testament to the ennobling influence of the Church in this city. LDS chapels are scattered all about the city to welcome the beautiful saints of Laie to worship. The local grocery store is closed on Sunday; on Saturday it's full of warm, friendly faces of various ethnicities and backgrounds. It seems as if every aisle is obstructed with a pair of people who have recognized each other and have stopped to catch up on old times.

We've been here two and a half weeks and I'm ashamed that it has taken me this long to understand what a sacred and special opportunity this can be. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience like a mission, or a study abroad to Jerusalem. Tamie has been the exemplar to me and frequently shares with me her thoughts and feelings of this place. Clearly, she is being taught from on high.

We've heard from a lot of people back home whose reaction to this opportunity has been to label it as luck. Certainly, we are fortunate to be given the chance to be here, but it is so much more than that. To apply luck as the only label would be to neglect the effort it took to get here and the hardships we endure to be here. For example, it took some effort and courage to arrange things at work. And the kids have had a difficult time adjusting to the new environment and routine; they've been very demanding. And as lucky as we are, I have to believe that experiences like this are available to anybody who is willing to go through the effort to seek it and find it.

My Grandpa Heaton used a phrase that fits well: “The sign on the door of opportunity reads 'push'.”