Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hawaii and Heaven

This entry is to celebrate our one year anniversary of our trip to Hawaii. My husband was awarded a trip from his company, but we saw the trip as a gift from the Lord. It was a time of rest and peace for us that was much needed, as I knew I would be going through another bout of cancer the following spring. The doctor hadn't revealed this to me, the Lord had.

This morning I woke up to a horrid reality. I have a zit on my chin. Right in the middle, in that little cleft area frequently haunted by boils and whiteheads during puberty. But I am a full-grown woman, last past those years when I was promised by my seventh grade health teacher that the acne would disappear.

Not only am I well past puberty, today I am leaving on the vacation of a lifetime…an all expense paid vacation to Hawaii with my husband. My suitcase is full of new clothes, I am wearing new clothes, have a new hair-do, have all professionally matched makeup on my face and I have a zit. A nice, red zit that refuses to be covered by layers of my new creamy foundation.

It is like a high school flashback, when the perfect scenarios were always scarred with that inevitable zit. The one on the end of your nose, the one on your cheek, or the one on your chest, just above your neckline.

I am going to Hawaii, the dream state on the dream vacation, with a huge zit in the middle of my chin.

In Hawaiin Arlines first class, I am called "Mrs. P." In first class, I get a snack without asking, or paying. I can drink all the coffee I want, then I can use the luxurious bathroom as many times as I want, without making that death march down the aisle of hundreds of people who know that I drank too much coffee.

We were greeted by beautiful flight attendants that were smiling and seemed thrilled and privileged to wait on us. Those nasty Northwest flashbacks were being soothed with island hospitality. I shuddered at the memory of the bleary-eyed Northwest flight attendant still putting on her make-up, (and did she need it!), the bossy attendant who was trying to make us sit apart from our four year old child, even though it was against airline policy, or the heavy-hipped attendant that bumped into me every time she rode her little cart up and down the aisle. She made me long for the days of prejudice when flight attendants had to be of a certain weight and shape.

As soon as we were settled into our lazy-boy type chairs, complete with a sealed and a sterile (yes!) blanket and pillow, we were offered a morning drink.
"Would you like champagne or juice?"

Champagne? For breakfast? Wait, it was even before breakfast! This is how the rich live? Do the rich live longer or shorter lives than those slobs in steerage? Champagne for breakfast. This is living. Or is it? We didn't drink any, but we were offered.

A breakfast menu was brought out and we were enthralled with the three choices. We decided to each order a different item so we could share. We were a little confused when they started bringing the breakfast trays without taking our order.

Scott asked, "How did you know what I wanted?"

The attendant responded, "I just read your mind."

It was then we realized that all three items were on our plate. It was more food than we had all together in the last ten years of flying NWorthwest in steerage.

In steerage they bring you a short squat cup, filled with boulder-sized ice-cubes and a spittle of soda. It is never enough to quench your thirst, just enough to make you thirsty, then you hang on to all your garbage and those never-melting boulder cubes until the attendant waddles down the aisle with a nasty garbage bag, hollering like a den mother after a cub scout meeting for the scouts to pick up all their mess.

When our beauty queen removed our breakfast try, she promised to bring desert and coffee soon. Breakfast desert? This IS living.

Every minute is like Christmas in first class. Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies were delivered, along with coffee, tea and after dinner liquors. No wonder you see drunks in airports - they must have been flying first class. We stayed with coffee.

I feel like the kid who has lived with her nose pressed up to the glass window looking in on everyone else's lives, and has finally been invited through the door. The sights, smells and tastes of this rich life are enticing. The pampering could lead me to believe that I deserve this kind of treatment. They are convincing me that I am special. Like genies in a bottle, my wish is their command. If they have the ability to fulfill a desire of mine, they will accommodate me.

Fairy-tell wishes aside, the truth is, I have purchased this treatment. I don't deserve it, I am nobody special, I am paying them to deliver me cookies, to spread the linen napkin down before they bring me food, to bring me an elegantly rolled warm washcloth smelling of lemon to wash my hands before I eat the gourmet food.

I am still that kid who's nose left smudges on the window, the soon, too-soon, I will be back outside, looking in, with the scab of a recently healed zit on my chin.
Update: It is a year later and the zit on my chin is long gone. I now have a huge one on my neck. I am also made it through my thyroid cancer surgery and have been recently declared in remission.

The trip to Hawaii was a blessing, but it looking back, I am thinking more about Heaven than Hawaii. The trip was only a foretaste of what is ahead for those who have trusted Christ as their Savior and will join Him in Heaven. We will be dressed in fine linen, feasting at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and living in a mansion prepared by the Lord Jesus.

And with those new bodies we're promised, I don't think I'll arrrive in Heaven with a zit on my chin.

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