Aloha readers! As many of you might know, Aloha means both hello and goodbye in Hawaii. It's also a culture. Aloha in Hawaii means "Hey you are on the islands now. We do things a little differently here. We put away our phones. We live on the beach. We adventure. We sleep. We drink coffee grown down the street. We breathe deeply. We sit and admire rainbows and waterfalls and do cross word puzzles." Okay, maybe I'm forcing a little Jillian on Aloha, but that is certainly what Aloha means to me.
Tim and I spent a week on the island of Maui, practicing Aloha on our second honeymoon, sixth birthdayversary, second babymoon, whichever event you prefer. We celebrated them all.
The above picture is my favorite shot of our entire trip. My favorite shot was not the one of us on the picturesque beach, not the unbelievable rainbow, the shave ice, nor was it sipping the virgin Mai Thais at our luau. I LOVE this shot because it was taken at the end of two miles of hiking treachery for this very pregnant mama. Although my doctor approved pretty much all activities save parasailing, I'm pretty sure he might have taken issue with this trek. Even though the 400 foot waterfall at the end was the focus of our hike, I remember the journey. With each step, we faced both beauty and danger hand in hand. The rocked path was slippery from rain, and I watched my feet land each step with, pun intended, pregnant anxiety. We watched people ahead, much more in shape than us, slip several times. I gulped and prayed, "Lord protect us!"
We rounded a bend and suddenly a HUGE Banyan tree, like God's very own built-in Hawaiin playground, took our breath away. Several groups had stopped to let their kids climb, jump, and hide within its HUGE branches. Lovers stopped to take pictures and etch their initials. Tim and I just stared agape. Mother Willow had nothing on this thing.
We kept walking, climbing upward and upward, thighs burning and back aching, edges from imminent death down cliffs on either side. Just when I thought I couldn't go another step, we would come across a bridge, or smaller waterfall, or an expansive view of the ocean. We walked through a bamboo forest on planked bridges. We were somber and contemplative, listening to the most peaceful sound of the breeze knocking hundreds of thousands of bamboo trees against one another. I wanted to save that sound somehow, but no Iphone video could do it justice.
When we finally reached the falls, it was clear we had to cross a creek on huge slippery rocks to get the best, the final, the closest view. I protested. "I don't think I should do that. Maybe I'm done." But Tim turned around and said, "Well I'm not done. Are you coming?"He hopped up on the rock (I hate that guy. I love him.), turned around, and grabbed my hand. I made it up the first huge rock and somehow hopped with my giant belly around the rest. It was worth every step.
We snuggled up right under it, sweat, dew, and all, and snapped this picture.
The hike to Waimoku Falls is my promise from the Lord. "Your journey ahead will be scary beautiful. Both. Your marriage will be scary beautiful. Both. Your motherhood? Scary beautiful. Your friendships? Your writing? Your titles? Your roles? Your LIFE? Scary. Beautiful. Your hike with me, Jillian? You will question if it is doctor approved, zika and poison ivy free, void of airplane mechanical errors and bloodclots, and far from mistakes that will cost you and those you love dearly. The truth? Those aren't guarantees here. The stakes are very high. Choosing me is the biggest risk you will ever take, and filled with the most breath taking rewards. You see, I AM the guarantee. And life with me is THE most stunning journey for which you could lace up your shoes. A million Waimoku Falls wouldn't depict what you already received when you said YES to me."
Aloha, Jesus. Hello again to this crazy ALIVE journey with you. I'm absolutely terrified, but you've shown me time and time again why you are always the better choice. Aloha, dead journey without you, for it is a bigger risk to stay home with my feet up and never even know I'm missing the Banyan playground that is a life with you.