My first time to Maui was with my family when I was at the sweet age of sixteen. I clearly remember thinking, "this is what paradise must look like." Never had I seen clouds so fluffy white and meringue-like. The shadows they casted on the lush mountains as we were driving were stunning. The glassy ocean, with its jewel-like tones of blues, turquoise and aqua were the most breathtaking part of this island. My fondest memory was when my dad would make random stops and pull over to the side of the road for us to jump into the ocean and go snorkeling.
The second time was on our honeymoon as we dove into the depths of marriage full speed with excitement, anticipation, totally in love and with just a little bit of naiveté (okay, maybe a lot). During this trip, every song on the radio became "our" song. We didn't do much but lounge around as newlyweds do, sipping Blue Hawaiians and swinging the night away in hammocks.
The trip after was bittersweet. It was our fourth year of marriage, and the most difficult. Things unraveled while we were on this beautiful island, and I remember expressing to the Hubby at the top of The Road to Hana, the irony of the beauty around us versus what was going on within our souls. It pained me to think that the previous time we were in Maui was when we were hopelessly "in love." What a contrast that was to where we were at the time. We were fighting hard, but feeling as though we were losing. However, we tried to make the best of our time there, but it became the start of a challenging journey ahead.
With that said, our most recent trip was what the Hubby called a redemptive one. It was our first time with our little one, and being in a much better place than we were previously, we wanted to recreate new memories. Though we had painful memories to remember, they were important in shaping where our marriage is today. Marriage doesn't run on auto-pilot, and it constantly humbles us to think that we could always return to that state. But by God's grace and redemption, he has brought us out of the darkness and back into the light. Our journey back on this island was a reflection of just that. As imperfect as we still are, we are reminded of how blessed we are to have a God to walk with us and teach us how to love. And if it weren't for that, our precious little one wouldn't be here today (just a small perk).
Here we are as honeymooners, circa 2007. Oh to be young again. : )