Last week, we returned from ten days of family vacation - just the four of us. On a once in a lifetime trip to Hawaii, we flew a round trip total of 20 hours and 40 minutes.
We planned it and anticipated it for months. A countdown ticked away on my phone, and I would randomly shout out, "96 days, 17 hours, 24 minutes, and 7, 6, 5, 4…..seconds until Hawaii!"
And we all cheered, because we were going to paradise.
Hawaii was a place of sparkling oceans, mountain tops, and sweet flower scents in summer breezes. We drove up the side of cliffs with ocean on side and volcanoes on the other - I gripped Shawn’s leg for fear of certain death.
Yet, I couldn’t stop looking, because it was so beautiful.
It was where a huge sea turtle swam up beside me and said, "Aloha friend! Come swim with me!"
He said it with his eyes, that is. Then proceeded to swim with me for thirty minutes while I watched him eat moss off rocks and mingle with a rainbow of other tropical fish.
And while Hawaii was breathtaking, what I was most enamored with, was the people I met along the way.
Because no matter where in the world I'm placed, I'm just as awkward as I am in the produce section.
You know, though, no one seems to really mind.
In a van to Pearl Harbor, a sweet couple from Southern California told us all about their stay in Maui - which was our next destination.
"Do you enjoy the water?" The woman asked.
"Yes - I like it with lemon."
The whole van started laughing.
I guess she meant swimming. I don't know.
We met a man from Australia - and he reassured us he's only once seen a spider as big as his hand.
We met a couple from Canada whose son was leaving soon for college. They chuckled at our boys fighting over a seat and reminded us how fast it all goes.
I walked past a mom yelling at her kids in Japanese at the exact same time I was yelling at mine in English.
We exchanged a look of solidarity in the universal language of motherhood. I'm pretty sure we would have hugged if not in the middle of dealing with our kids.
There are some beautiful people, too.
Bodies that could grace magazine covers. People who could be movie stars. Women so beautiful, I was nudging my husband.
"Wow. Look at her."
Honestly - I can't help it. I wasn't trying to catch him in the act of looking at other women, but was in awe myself.
And here we were, the same old Duncan's. Hitting those gorgeous beaches like wrecking balls.
I yelled at Logan to pull up his shorts every two seconds because he continually mooned the place while Connor explained ocean safety regulations to me.
Shawn picked his toenail in the sand.
There I was with my figure skater swimsuit and pink hat because thanks to forty and thinning hair, I have a spot on my head that sunburns if not covered.
We rolled around in the waves laughing like crazy people. And suddenly Logan crashed right into one of those beautiful girls.
And why is it that I was afraid to even talk to her?
"I'm so sorry! He's just excited!"
She and her equally as beautiful boyfriend laughed.
"Isn't that what the ocean is for?"
Maybe I categorize people too much. I put them in a box and call them better than me - yet they acted none the sort.
Maybe I need to open my heart to people more. Stop shying away from those I think are superior. I've done this my entire life, and I've probably missed out on some amazing people.
People are people, and God is so good.
The scenery there was the most breathtaking I've seen. But truly, and even though I sometimes try to avoid them, people are His best work.
We fail. We do wrong. We cause horrible things to occur through sin.
But through Him, we are delightful.
We laugh. We cry. We say stupid things.
But together no matter our backgrounds - or what language we yell at our kids in - we are wonderfully made.