(These are all my photos…not stock photos…it really is this beautiful!)
This Sabbatical, I set out with specific guideposts for Sabbath: Cease, Rest, Embrace, Feast. In my imaginary Sabbatical plan, one verb followed the other, and I do think that using this as a step-by-step formula can lead to some pretty incredible Sabbath keeping. However, so far, this Sabbatical has been a whole ton of feasting, with some embracing thrown in, and I’m just now getting to the ceasing. But, more important than the order in which I experience Sabbath, each day of Sabbatical has been unbelievably life giving.
The feast of the Waipio Valley, Lava fields of the eastern Hawaii Island, and Mauna Kea. (See the Last post).
The feast of Lanikai Beach, Kailua Beach, and Waikiki.
Feasting on the beauty of Green World Coffee Farms and Dole Plantation. And truly enjoying the feast of Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck after waiting in line for over an hour (I say it’s worth it. My parents may disagree.)
Feasting on the beauty of Oahu’s North Shore and embracing the sea turtles that call it home.
Feasting on amazing, fresh (sea)food for every meal and embracing eating outside, oceanside, three times a day! Is this real life???!!!
Feasting on the beauty of Hanauma Bay and embracing the new experience of snorkeling the reef there. Grateful to the fish who let us invade their home each day to witness their beauty.
Embracing the white knuckle experiences of a helicopter ride above Kauai and wild sail boat dinner “cruise” around it’s Nepali Coast. Both required Dramamine but were fully worth every cent and butterfly. No better way to appreciate the magnitude of this island’s unbelievable coast.
Feasting on the beauty of Hanalei bay as my kayak floated around and landed on shore for more snorkeling. And our guide sat on the beach to “talk story” and sing a few Hawaiian tunes.
Feasting on my Ohana…the Hawaiian word for family. Doing this trip with my parents was one of the greatest gifts imaginable. I’ll always be grateful for our time together.
Now they are safely back in NC, (after a few plane delays) and I am sitting on my lanai in Kauai overlooking the ocean, sampling local Hawaiian rum. During the 8 days of our time on the islands of Hawaii, Oahu, and Kauai, we only had one day that was our rest day. After feasting on all of the above and more, I’m grateful for the luxury to fully cease. Sometimes Sabbath means ceasing the fun stuff too, just to give yourself a break and time to reflect on all the gifts you’ve been given, and wow, this trip has offered so many!
But, when it comes to ceasing, I wouldn’t have passed on any single thing we did over the past week, even if I was a little tried, and even grouchy at times. And I know many of us feel like that in our own lives at home too. There’s just too many good things in life to “waste time” by stopping. I’ll sleep when I’m dead!, we say, as if that’s some sort of badge of honor to go and go and go until we are exhausted in body, mind, and spirit. But how can we stop when there’s so much to feast on and embrace in this life? What’s our incentive to step away from the gifts of food and fellowship and beauty in this world? Maybe it’s that ceasing and resting are their own gift too? Maybe we just don’t know how much ceasing and resting truly give us because, so often, we fail to fully cease and rest?
During our rest day, we barely left our resort. We slept in, stuck to the beach and the pool, and generally took it slow. It was much needed and, while there were plenty of things we could have seen and done, we didn’t feel like we missed out either. What we felt was reprieve. The day before, we took a wild ride in a sail boat up the Nepali Coast. The day after we were back on the water in kayaks going up the Hanalei river to snorkel Hanalei bay. The rest day in between, we planted our feet on dry land. We needed recovery and stable ground and a break. Even though driving out to see waterfalls or new and different beaches was tempting, napping (we were still dealing with disordered sleep due to the time difference) and taking it slow ruled the day and we were better for it.
If I I’m completely honest, I did feel a little strange not to be out sight seeing. Were we “wasting a day” by hanging out poolside instead of hiking a waterfall? After 7 full days of going strong – I’m talking 12 hour days packed full of sights and tastes of Hawaii – is it ok to cease for even one of them when you have limited time in this amazing place?
Did you say yes??? Are you telling me it’s totally ok to take a break from all the good stuff and rest a bit? To just stop and reflect on the good gifts of life???
Truly, we ALL have limited time in this amazing place, where ever you are, and limited time to feast on the gifts of our Ohana, our family or our friends that feel like family (in Hawaii everyone is a cousin or uncle or auntie). But in all of that, ceasing is a must. God commands us to rest, in the same way that we shouldn’t murder or steal or lie. The scriptural text can be directly translated as “cease”. We must have a day to completely stop what we are doing, even if what we are doing is good and fun and life giving, so that we can remember that we belong to God, that this world belongs to God, and that all of these good and fun and life giving things come from God. I hope we can all “waste a day” every week in ways that lead us to remembering that. How will you “waste” your day this week?