From the moment that the sperm and the egg unite and the one-celled egg divides in two, we are on a journey! Having come into being, we can never “not be” again! As of today my own journey has gone on for approximately 23,240 days: conception, birth, school, Navy, the Trappists, the Carmelites, New Skete, DC, and the latest stop on the journey – Rincon, GA. Hopefully this journey is also heading toward Hawaii!
How we travel our life-journey depends upon how well we listen for God’s voice throughout the trip. While God leaves us free to decide the itinerary of the trip, along the way he whispers about sights that we really need to see. However, only if we have an orientation of listening will we hear the hints! In Russian Orthodox monasticism, a newcomer to the life, a novice, is called a paslushniki, a “listener”. This gives a good idea of the mindset that the trip through life requires of us… for who among us has learned so much that he has no need to learn more? Being a listener means to be attentive.
When I took Mom back to Hawaii in October 2010 we stayed at the Ilikai, just a few blocks down the street from where Danny lives. Whenever I travel to Hawaii I have learned that the way to tackle jetlag is to stay up until roughly the normal time that I would go to bed (even though I’m now in a different timezone). In Hawaii this means staying up for an additional 5 or 6 hours on top of what usually amounts to a 15 hour trip. When I finally fall into bed I immediately go into a deep, deep sleep and the next morning my inner cycles have mostly switched over to Hawaii time!
By 8pm that first night I could no longer function and climbed into bed. As I was quickly slipping under, I kept hearing someone singing! The sound followed me into a light dream, preventing me from falling deeply asleep. Puzzled and slightly disoriented from a lack of sleep, I got up and looked out the window. On an immense canvas across the side of the neighboring hotel was Elvis Presley crooning “Blue Hawaii” for a gathering of people watching in the plaza below!
But the sound of Hawaii for me is that made by the Tiger Doves making a unique and melodic cooing sound. I have never heard it anywhere but in Hawaii. I have been on the phone with someone in Hawaii, and upon hearing those doves in the background I realized for a minute or two I was not listening to the other person, but to the doves. That sound always yanks me out of Georgia and back to Hawaii! Some expectant mothers play music close to their bellies for their babies in the womb. Given my mania for Hawaii I have to wonder if Mom played a bit too much “Blue Hawaii” while I was in there at the beginning of my journey!