Do I miss Hawaii?

by Mrs. Smith on June 7, 2021

I’ve discovered that you can love a place and it doesn’t matter if you’re there or not. The love doesn’t change.

I love Hawaii.

But I don’t actually miss it…

Which seems weird sometimes. My friends post the most beautiful pictures of their families hiking up to waterfalls and hanging at beaches and all the things… and I love seeing it. I love my friends and their kids. I love the time I got to be there.

Why am I not at all homesick for it?

Maybe because I’m just so at home here?

Maybe because there is something about gigantic trees everywhere that feeds my soul in ways that I need right now?

Maybe – and most likely – because this is just where we need to be right now. I know it and the trees know it and Hawaii knows it and we’re all okay with it.


But yesterday I hit a wall that I hadn’t let myself see yet.


OHHHHH, BABY, I do NOT want to give up going to church in Hawaii. I just don’t. That’s where I break. That’s where I crumble. That’s where I’m a sobbing puddle on the ground and I can’t pick myself up. That’s where my nice solid “I’m totally content being where I’m supposed to be” exterior turns out to be a bit of an illusion, actually.

Heck no, I won’t go.

I can’t give that up.

I don’t mind allllllllll the other things that are different here on the mainland. Even the lack of aloha. I just feel so damn blessed to have lived in it and seen what that looks like firsthand for as long as we did, I don’t care that the rest of the world isn’t like that yet.

I know I’m being closed-minded and closed-hearted and stiff-necked and all kinds of not-humble.


I’m not even giving mainland church a chance. Not really. I went in person like maybe twice with my sister when we first got here. (And I’m probably exaggerating. I think it was only once.)

Other than that, I hide in our Hawaii-church’s zoom broadcast. Or (confession) we don’t even DO church.


Now you know.

Some things are just too hard to say goodbye to. I have never felt anything like what there is at church with Polynesians, where they just don’t know how freaking amazing they are. It gave me such an amazing view into white-people-church-culture, to see something different, and see what happens when they land in the same space. The longer we were there, the more I noticed. I don’t think I could ever articulate everything I learned in that environment, because it was almost entirely feelings.


I’m sorry, but you just DON’T. Or maybe more accurately, *I* don’t. Maybe you do. If so, I’m happy for you. Or maybe you’re like I was before and you just don’t know what you’re missing. 😉 It’s one of those things that can be pretty subtle, but over time, it really grows on you.

This might be a harsh comparison, but imagine living in Europe and eating that kind of quality food, and then trying to talk yourself into going to McDonald’s. For those of you who haven’t been to Europe, you might not realize — what we’re used to eating in the US isn’t even actual food compared to what they have.

You can disagree with me if you want to and tell me how church can be church no matter where you go (I agree, it should be), you can judge me and try to talk me out of this perspective, but honey, you ain’t me and you don’t know what I’ve been through and y’all are just going to have to deal with it taking ten years for me to come around.


And I am not cool enough to just bring that Polynesian church vibe with me. Definitely not. As much as I wish I could, I don’t know the faith song they sing well enough to sing it without them. Or maybe even at all. I would just listen to it and bask in it and learn from it, but I could never duplicate it. I really don’t think I could.

So there you have it. The biggest ouchie associated with this weird move.

It’s not the beaches. It’s not the stunning tropical mountains. It’s not the waterfalls. It’s not the blissfully temperate climate. It’s not the laid-back pace of life. It’s not the incredible ocean creatures. It’s not even the friends we’ve left behind there – though they’re awesome and I hope they know it.

Apparently, I miss church in Hawaii so much and so deeply that it just hurts my soul to drag myself to church here. I can’t do it. When I try, I numb out and keep it together, and then fall apart in a big way when I get back home. And it hasn’t changed one tiny bit in the ten months we’ve been here. I can’t even talk about it with people, actually. (So if I know you in real life here, pleeeeeeeeease don’t bring this up. I will cry. It will be ugly. Don’t do it.)

Oh well, I guess?

I wonder if my great great grandpa felt this way. The one who served a mission in Samoa, whose Samoan-mission-name I inherited. The one who always told my grandma that the Samoan people were straight-up celestial. I bet he did. He went to church anyway when he got back, but I bet he missed it this bad or worse.

Maybe I’ll tap into some kind of reserve I don’t know I have, and show up for my local congregation.

Maybe I’ll keep hiding up here in the woods and never get over it.

Both seem quite plausible.




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