I'm writing this on Thursday morning, a few hours before Hurricane Lane is supposed to start really affecting Maui, my home island. Hawaii isn't Florida; most of us can't afford to book a flight off island, and the homes here aren't really designed to withstand serious storms (the hotels are, of course). Everyone I know has made whatever preparations they needed for their families, whether that means stocking up on water, boarding up the windows, or duct taping down the rubber slippers on their porch. Waiting is waiting, and surprisingly, it's not very stressful.
A few months ago, Hawaii experienced a false alarm: every cell phone in the state received a message that a ballistic missile was headed for Hawaii-- "This is not a drill." The alert was a mistake; the system was supposed to be undergoing routine, internal testing and it was sent to everyone (there was human error involved, there was system errors involved, there is a word for this kind of mistake that rhymes with blusterduck). However, in the minutes between knowing there was nothing and believing a bomb was coming and would hit somewhere in the state, all of us had to know where we really were in our lives. People curled up with their families; some rushed home from work. I prepared to go about my day, waiting for the all clear before I left home (thankfully, Hawaii's senators are really good at Twitter, and were able to clear the alarm before the defense system). During those few minutes, I realized I had nothing to say. As much as I wanted to give another hug, or say "I love you" another time, I knew that there was no one I loved who didn't know I loved them, no one I was angry with who I needed to confront. I knew deep down when I moved back to Hawaii that it was where God wanted me, and if that meant that I was to live there for a few months and then die, that is what it meant. I knew I was in the right place at the right time, in the sense that I was where I was supposed to be, and that I was not in control of why I was supposed to be there.
When the missile alert happened, I didn't know that it would change my perspective on living so fundamentally. Suddenly, it was abundantly clear why I needed to listen to the still, small voice when it says "go," "stay," "speak," "be silent." Being obedient in the little things and being generous with my love, my resources, my words, and my actions takes away the fear that I won't finish what I'm supposed to do here on the planet, and also makes it easy to imagine losing things but not losing hope. There's a storm coming. Tsunami warnings have come and gone; where I am they haven't been problematic, and all over the world thousands have lost everything to them. There are thousands of scenarios, but I know that I'm in the one in which I did my best to be obedient, kind, loving, patient, faithful, and prepared. Whatever comes next, I'm in the timeline I belong in, and that makes the question mark that is the future much easier to walk into, whether there's a storm or not.
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