If I rise on the wings of the dawn,if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will hold me, your right hand will hold me fast. – Psalm 139:9-10
10 years ago, I flew across the Pacific ocean, leaving behind the island that had been home, with its smells of cho do-fu (stinky tofu), Saturday mornings waking up to the tune of “For Elise” blaring from the garbage truck’s loudspeakers, and the abundance of tea stands on every street where “boba” was first conceived and supplied daily to local caffeine addicts. I love Taiwan, and in a way, it will always be home while in other ways, it will never be the home it once was. Home is like a ruptured star… in memory, it is beautiful, but its fragments are scattered across time and space and are growing forever distant. Friends and family who were once part of a tight network of locals and foreigners of Morrison Academy in Taichung, have found new dwelling places in a myriad of cities and towns across planet earth.
This summer, I took another flight across the Pacific, but this time not as far. Another archipelago of small islands, tiny rocks in the midst of vast wild waters, has made its way into my heart, and the Voice which gave them existence beckons me to come. Never in my drafts of my life story was a chapter dedicated to living in Hawaii, and still the idea seems too incredible to be in my book, yet the pen is already to paper and pen cannot be erased. God, do I really get my dream of living near the ocean? Was my immediate thought when I first heard His voice. Do you think I’m that good? Was His gentle response. Selah…The wonder of living among the sea turtles and coconut trees is eclipsed by the tear-stained history of island-dwellers loving and hating, caressing and killing, uniting and dividing. The open wounds that segregate people also invite them to find healing. Maybe I too will find healing.
By crossing oceans, I am continuing the tradition of my grandparents who left the pier in San Francisco in 1948 to make a home in Japan and share about the Savior Jesus and my parents who flew to post-revolution China in 1983 to learn the language of another people God loves. I can’t help but cross this ocean, and probably many more as the days roll on… because the world is bigger, more beautiful and more broken then I currently know and I need to know the God of many nations and peoples. I am crossing this ocean because I need to see God, His people and His land through the eyes of my Hawaiian aunties and uncles, brothers and sisters. Unless I hear their stories, see their dances, and eat lots of taro and fish, I will never know this side of our God who is reflected in the chants, the land-care, and the sense of family among the Polynesians.