Today is Pentecost Sunday – 50 days after Easter Sunday, and marking what Catholics herald as the “Birthday of the Church.” It’s a celebratory time, and our chaplain had some stellar points addressed in his homily. However, I have other issues laying on my heart this week, some of which are still being hashed out in my head, and there are plenty other Catholic bloggers willing to share how they are celebrating Pentecost with their families.
We aren’t celebrating Pentecost in our family – simply because my kids won’t get it! I’d love to say we go all out, but we don’t. Even as an adult, I’m not entirely sure I get this occasion… logically, I understand the “descent of the Holy Spirit,” but emotionally, I’m stunted. But, we did all wear red to church today.
For My Sunday Best, I’m wearing a LuLa Roe Cassie skirt (won from a contest), a red tank-top bought at the PX ($7.99), and a brown sweater (since it gets cold in the chapel) which is older than my son. The new peep-toe heels are the first pair of real heels I have worn (aside from wedge-heels, or super-dressy, impractical shoes) in about seven years. The “Invest Peep Toe Sling Backs” were on sale for $26.97 at the PX yesterday. I personally don’t find my flats very flattering, and felt completely put together today in the little bit of heel provided.
My kiddos are reflecting the islands today – in their matching Aloha wear, handed down to us by dear friends from Hawaii. I have been waiting for Lil’ Miss to be big enough to fit in the dress, dreading her brother would be too big for the shirt. Thankfully, red for Pentecost provided both of them with the perfect opportunity to be all “matchy-matchy.” Which has stolen this mom’s heart…
And, is reflective of the melancholy mood I am in today.
Three years ago today, we left the Hawaiian islands. I firmly believe I left my heart back in Hawaii – with the people, the scenery, the beaches, and with the spirit. I have written before how Hawaii, for me, became my “home.” As much as any place has ever felt like home for a transient Army BRAT.
Today, I am homesick.
Instead of using a bunch of words which are still rattling around in my head, let me close with a few pictures of Hawaii. The pictures don’t do the “real life” any justice, and the pictures don’t do my memories justice. I am also aware that, if we are ever blessed to go back, my experience on the island could be completely different – it often is when someone is reassigned to their paradise location (whether paradise for them is the islands, or Europe, or any other “dream” duty location).
The top two pictures were taken when I went to Moloka’i – to the sight of the former leper community of Kalaupapa. This community, when we were there three years ago, still had a handful of residents. The two bottom pictures were of the scenery on O’ahu. The left hand side was a picture of North Shore – within a fifteen minute drive of our house; the right hand picture was a shot of Honolulu, from the top of Diamond Head.
I credit Hawaii with my journey back to Catholicism. My son’s birth brought me back to the Church – the weight of knowing I was now responsible for someone else was a heavy burden placed around my shoulders, and I would like to think I’ve taken that responsibility seriously. The Catholic community was welcoming and embraced us – all of my family… from my non-Catholic husband, to my tiny, rambunctious boy, to the newly-returning Catholic. It was on the islands where I met, and experienced, the devotion of Adoration, and where I found attending daily Mass helped my little guy sit a little quieter at Sunday Mass. It’s where I became deeply involved in the chapel community – something I am still doing now, two duty stations later.
When I first started to blog, the Kangaroo took the place of my son in photos. “Joey” was brought for my son, from a business trip my husband took “Down Under” the last month we lived in Hawaii. If you find yourself on O’ahu, I recommend a trip over to the Windward Side for crepes at “Crepes No ‘Ka ‘Oi.” The fire truck was where we would take my son to get his hair cut over near the Naval Exchange (NEX). The second-to-right picture was taken at the Swap Meet – think a large bazaar, located at the Aloha Stadium, which was a great way to get “touristy things,” at a small fraction of Waikiki prices! “Big Kahuna,” was a pizza joint near the airport which we only ate twice while on the island – both times right before we left. It was the site of our last meal in Hawaii.
Some of our favorite things to do was to head to the beach. The last week in Hawaii, we got up close and personal with some “honu” (sea turtles). The other two pictures were from the Honolulu Zoo, which is still my favorite zoo in the United States (even more treasured than the National Zoo in D.C.).
My son was born in Hawaii. I recovered from my “severe pre-eclampsia” in Hawaii. He and I used to go on once-a-week dates to North Shore – for me to get a coffee drink, and for him to have a snickerdoodle. My son “helped” me serve at daily Mass – climbing on the altar, under foot, to “help” me as I read to the handful of participants on hand. He was just starting to truly explore the island on his terms, when we headed back to the mainland. He was twenty-one months old.
And now, he is four years old. With dreams of being a police officer, and fighting tooth and nail resisting attending Mass. He doesn’t remember the islands, but the focus of our family has forever been impacted in a positive manner. We took the emphasis of Ohana (family) with us from the island. We also took some of the Spirit of Aloha with us… trying our hardest to impart love and kindness to everyone we know.
And, this weekend, I miss the islands – the beauty, the majesty, the splendor…
Mahalo, for taking a stroll down memory lane with me today!