June 17, 2020
Dear St. Paul’s Family,
How do you know where you are going?
There was a time, not too long ago, when people navigated by their own wits, with the help of tools like compasses, maps, and landmarks. There was no helpful GPS voice to give you directions or recalculate if you got off track. If you could find the location of the sun in the sky, you could determine what was north, south, east and west with a little bit of thought.
But those dear map coordinates were of less use in Hawaii. There, your location relative to the ocean (makai) and mountains (mauka) was the best clue to where you were so you could get where you wanted to go.
After 15 years of orienting based on mountains and oceans, it was disorienting to move to Charlotte, North Carolina, designated as a tree city for good reason. The trees of Charlotte provide a lovely canopy for many. But for me, the canopy blocked out orienting signs of direction by the location of the sun and horizon. For the first few months, after being used to seeing oceans and mountains all the time, it felt down-right claustrophobic.
One of the things I love about being in Woodstock is the presence of the mountains. Each morning, when I look out of the bedroom window or step out the door to get the paper, I see the mountains! In this season, where life seems so disorienting, I have thought of a retreat I led with the women from Wananalua Congregational Church in Hana, Maui. We drove from Hana, through Kipahulu to Kaupo on the backside of Maui. We set up our tents on the mauka side of Hui Aloha Church, and then gathered around a campfire. One of the older aunties looked up towards the slopes of Haleakala and said, “I lift up my eyes to the hills, from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”. (Ps 121:1)
Perhaps we could all do with a helpful voice like the British-accented voice of my GPS, that would recalculate with these words, “While I am recalculating your course, please take a deep breath, look up to the mountains, and remember that your help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth”.
Recalculating ~ Anne