Sunday, May 25, 2008

Today Shelly and I took a walk across the street to the Waikiki Park. I am so thankful to God that I have the strength to walk in the park. The trees are all in full blossom, all kinds of beautiful birds are flying around us...I can't help but experience the stark contrast to what seemed at times to be a physical torture contest while I was in the hospital. As we headed down and across the park we were drawn to the Memorial Day Services taking place at the Natatorium, which is the old war memorial building. The Natatorium is connected to the largest salt water pool in the world. I found it a bit ironic, however, because this historical building has been shut down, condemned since 1980 as contaminated, the pool unusable to the public. Yet we were having a memorial service right in front of it. A memorial service that was fully alive, with beautiful hulas, music, a 21 gun salute, and speakers who remembered our military men and woman that gave their lives for our freedom to live this life. Their memories were very much alive in the hearts and minds of their families, friends and a very grateful public. Then I was reminded by the Lord, that what is valuable and important is not always held in the physical beauty of His creation (albeit His creation is indeed beautiful)...but what is even more beautiful, even more important , even more valuable is often held in the hearts and minds of his people. In our memories. After all Jesus set up communion and told us to remember Him and what He has done for us daily "...as often as we meet and break bread together." He knew the power of the memories He had given us. I often mentally recite my life. I go back and start from the beginning recalling everything I can. Shelly thinks I live in the past too much. Perhaps, but I don't want to forget all the wonderful times with my children, with my friends, family, with Shelly. My past, like many of us is filled with some hurts, some really bad decisions, some things I did that I am ashamed of, things others did to me. I have asked God for forgiveness, He says He forgets those things, so I do too. I forgive and forget and I don't bring to mind those things...only the lessons learned from them. I remember every detail of things that were good, pure and lovely...things that I put my heart and soul into...I remember all the words of wisdom and love from parents, friends, coaches,...I remember in great detail the encouragement, the care and compassion...I remember every detail of great trips with my children, great moments with them...great moments with you, wonderful and wondrous times...I remember these things deeply and often and on purpose! I realized, that is what we were really doing today, remembering in depth and great detail the lives of our military men and woman. As all this was going through my mind I remembered many loved ones who have departed before us and of course my heart was flooded with the memory of Joey Johnson's smile, his openness...the way, even as a child, he looked you straight in the eyes as he talked with you...I remembered his creativity and uniqueness and the joy he brought to his mom and dad and his family and friends and even though it hurt I remembered deeply and in great detail. That is what memorial day is all about, to remember our loved ones, those that have given their lives in duty to their country and those that have given their lives...to us as gifts from God. Some for just a short while, but as we remember deeply and in great detail they are alive with us until the day we are together in the Father's house forever. "And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned...and the God of peace will be with you." Phil. 4:8-9

We love you so much,
kit & Shelly

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Pasor Kit,
I find that reading this blog every day helps keep me in step with the spirit. In fact I was thinking about the verse you quoted today "Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. " Phil. 4:8-9 This blog is fixing my mind on true, honorable thoughts.
Yours in Christ,
Kimo

Ron & Barbara said...

Kit, You're on it... Our spirit bears witness. I'm so thankful for the realtime lessons on facing our mortality and in-mortality. Amazing insight!

We use your comments everyday along with Greg Laurie for our daily devotions with our parents.

Patti Franks said...

Hey Kit,

I love that area of the park...Curt and I used to meet right there by the fountain to go jogging when we were first dating in Honolulu. Thank you for the beautiful reminder to remember our precious blessings from God instead of fretting over the what-ifs of this fast-changing world. Your devos sure help me to keep an eternal perspective. I’m happy you and Shelly shared such a wonderful, memory-making day together! Love to both of you,
Patti

Lisa Bryant said...

Hi Kit, I know just where you were today. I used to cut school and hang out down there in the 70s. When I was 13, I met a girl there while swimming. When I told her my name, she said that was the name she liked to use. Her real name was Theresa and she was 13 and homeless, living there all by herself. Oh her sister also was around and we'd run into her now and then but she truly was on her own. I asked her where she slept. She said she'd walk down the road there along the park, trying the car doors to see which ones were unlocked. And every night she'd find one to sleep in until sunrise. I saw her once a week for a month, then I never saw her again, but I think of her often and pray for her. And for 20 years, I'd leave my car doors unlocked, especially on rainy nights because I'd think about all the Theresa's. Anyway, I don't really know why I shared this with you except that I was reminded of the place.

Your blog entries, Kit, are so important. With your illness, Mike's illness, Joey's passing, and all the other personal trials so many of us are going through, it's very easy if we are not mindful, to lose heart and get discouraged. So your words pointing us back to the Father, helping us to keep a heavenly perspective, is vital. Thank you for modeling for us how to draw near to God in the midst of extreme hard times. We are going through this with you!

Love,
Lisa Bryant

manbooks said...

I was led to drive down to the Hope building on Thursday night, even though I had no idea what, if anything, might be going on there. When I pulled into the parking lot, NPR was playing the "William Tell Overture". The Spirit of the LORD spoke to my heart, that He was playing this music for you, my brother.

Indeed, even as the Overture is just the beginning of something greater, so has it been with your life up to this point. As greatly as He has used you to bless so many people, this is only the beginning of something far greater. I recall Roonwit from "Chronicles of Narnia" inviting the children "Further up and further in". There is always more. Our joy ever increases as we see His work being formed in us.

I don't know if the Lord will show us mercy and leave you here with us. I certainly hope so. The Church needs your gift of apologetics, your heart for evangelism, your compassion for the lost, now more than ever. Yet the ways of the LORD are mysterious, often we just don't understand. Nevertheless we trust Him, for He is good.

In Him

Dean Schmucker

Anonymous said...

Never without thoughts amd prayers for you and your Ohana.

Praise God,
Love,Lucy

Mele said...

Amen Kit! Counting the days till you and Shelly arrive.

Tons of prayer & Love,

Mele & Ohana

Anonymous said...

Aloha Kit and Shelly,
Loved reading your recent entries...and I have to agree with Lisa Bryant who stated how important these blog sites are. (and this from a non-blogger). They are so much more than just an update on your situation; I am regularly moved to tears by reading your own entries and then again when reading comments posted by others. I feel a connection with people I see routinely and also with those who no longer live on Maui or whose paths no longer cross my own. Our hearts align in purpose as we pray and of course in our love for the Lord and for you all. The Lord is using your heart and the passion he's given you to "reach and teach."
Thanks for your faithfulness. :)
Love to you both- we look forward to having you home!
XO, The Ortegas

Anonymous said...

How can I keep from Singing
Chris Tomlin

There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling
How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing
I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give
I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne