It has not even been 48 hours since my arrival here at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. So many things I want to say simultaneously.
When I was 18 I was blessed with a year of scrubbing toilets, everyday. Literally, everyday. For a year. It was quite a humbling experience. I would like to think that it stretched me and made me a better person. I definitely grew from it. And I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am if it weren’t for all the trials I endured at Friend Ships.
So coming here I was all ready to “serve”. I said I would do whatever. However, I did email them before I came just to kind of feel the waters. They said I would be working in the finance office and the boutique. Yeah, I could do that. Sit in an office for the day and then go down to the beach afterwards. Why not?
To be quite honest, I was struggling a bit in the first place as to whether or not I wanted to come. Leaving Alaska was very hard. I love Alaska! I think I could actually hear my heart tearing. And seriously, working for free? Does that even really make sense?
I’ve done this before, in Louisiana. Best years of my life, and some of the hardest. But I’m in Hawaii now! This should be easy! A piece of cake! A little time to regroup and rethink life. Lie in the sun and relax! Recover from the trials life throws at you! This will be amazing!
What I’ve pictured in my mind is not actually what reality is. It’s HOT here. People do not tell you this about Hawaii… It is humid. People do not tell you that. It’s not as bad as Louisiana. But it’s oh so hot. And I don’t know a soul! Why do I do this to myself, seriously? Not one friend. (yet.)
I was thinking about having myself a little melt down last night. Tuesday night is a mandatory meeting. Worship and teaching. I was sitting there with I’m sure, a dazed look, and my mind was just wandering. I was wondering where I was going to put my things because I didn’t have enough drawers or hangers. I like everything neat. Neat and tidy. And I like my seven pillows on my bed. Made very neat and perfect everyday. I was trying to figure out when I was going to shower, how many times I was going to have to apply make up in one day, where there were enough outlets by a mirror so I could fix my hair. I’m a hairdresser. I have to have nice hair! I was starting to freak out a little. If you shower before work, then you get all hot and sweaty and then you have to shower after work… There aren’t that many hours in a day.
Then I thought to my self, “wow, Danette, when did you become so high maintenance?” That is the definition of high maintenance right? I’m totally fitting that description… I’ve always thought of myself as a “missionary girl”. Hey, I did spend three months in Africa! That’s got to count for something right? But wow reality sometimes is a bit much to swallow.
Then this morning at our morning meeting, which starts at 6 in the morning. That is 6 am. Before the sun comes up. I had to get up in front of about 50 people and tell them about myself. Generally I’m terrified of getting up in front of people and talking but I felt pretty good about it this time. Even made them laugh a little. So when they asked were I was going to be working I said that I had received an email a while back saying I would be working in the finance office and the boutique, but that I hadn’t heard since I'd arrived.
Now imagine my face for one second as I’m standing up in front of this sitting crowd. They’re all staring at me as one of the leaders say to me, “oh no, you’re going to be working in housekeeping and dishwashing.” My response, “Oh ha ha okay. I knew it was a trick!” I think I fooled them all into thinking that I could just go with the flow, but really, I just wanted to cry. I can’t believe that news was broken to me while I had a crowd of people watching me. I wanted to just lie on the ground and sob. I cannot do this! Seriously! I have to scrub toilets again!!!!! I thought I did my time.
That’s when I start thinking about plane tickets. How will I escape paradise?
It was like deja vu all day today. I had a pretty crappy attitude this morning. I was just mad. I always have the “how dare they” attitude when anything happens that I don’t like. I want to do the little head bob as a shake my finger saying “seriously!” I was even “taught” how to fold a fitted sheet today. No, I am the queen of folding fitted sheets! I have folded thousands of fitted sheets. Really. Thousands. I do not want to be taught how to fold a fitted sheet!
Eventually I talked myself into being okay with housekeeping. (let’s remember that that was just for today. Tomorrow I might have to talk myself into it again.) But the three girls I’m working with are the sweetest! And plus, I had lunch dishes to dread all day! I was not a happy camper about lunch dishes! I’m talking dishes for 1000 people. A thousand. Getting my hands all wet and nasty and having to pull my hair back out of my face in an ugly bun. No no no… I want to cut hair.
Most people wont really understand fully when I say “ratty ol ship girl”. But that’s what I felt like. Back in my Friend Ship days there was not much you could do to make yourself presentable. All of us wore torn up, stained up, used up cloths. Didn’t fix our hair because it was just too hot to run our blow dryer and didn’t wear makeup because it literally ran off your face. And what sticks in my mind is one of the guys saying “I don’t want to end up with one of those ratty ol ship girls”. It was that bad. Oh man, I was so happy when I got back into the real world and became presentable again.. And now… Against everything in me, I have no choice but to surrender to being a ratty ol island girl. Ah, it’s going to be dreadful, but I am going to try and do it with a smile.
These three months might be a little rough. I know I have some things I need to deal with but I’m not sure exactly how to go about doing that.
Being a hairdresser, it’s impossible to have a crappy day. Okay, I definitely had crappy days all the time, but no one would ever know. People expect you to be bubbly and cheerful. “Hi! How’s your day? Mines the best ever!” So that is what I have been these past several months in Alaska. Fine. I have pushed things so far out of my mind that I can’t even be alone and think about things. Otherwise I’m not fine. But if I don’t let my mind go any deeper than surface stuff, I’m okay. But that is so unhealthy, and I know that.
On my way here, I had a 12 hour layover in California. I got a hotel and I was going to process everything. It was going to be like my little transition period. From Alaska to Hawaii. My old life to my new life. I don’t know where I get these amazing ideas. But I always think they’re great at the time. Two of my best friends told me very nicely that I might want to be a little bit more realistic about the processing time. But I was sure that I could just do some sort of switch over.
Oh man, I was so wrong, I didn’t get anything accomplished in California. What in the world! Now I have to deal with things in Hawaii. I don’t like dealing with things. Tears happen when you deal with things. But I am smart enough to know that if I don’t process things and let things go that it will be baggage in my life. And I don’t need to drag anything along behind me in my life.
So, to the next three months, may they go quickly... No, but really, may they allow God to bring healing in my life. And may I again put God first in my life.
Oh, I can already feel the pain. I don't like to be taught things.