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Nothing Left

I screamed. Maybe it was more of a loud, defeated, groan. But that’s just how I feel. Absolutely defeated.

Cosette was complaining about dirty shoes. Baeces was crying because his feet were muddy. Jaxon emptied the contents of his cubby and scattered them around the floor. Ewan was soaking wet and needed to be changed. Yuna was in her pull ups walking around with no clothes on. All of these kids and all of their problems and me, just me.

But that’s my career right? That’s the job I signed up for. A job where my needs come absolutely last and the needs of 18 small human beings come first. It’s nearly 2 o’clock and I haven’t had the chance to use the bathroom since waking up this morning. That’s how it’s been lately. Everything I want, everything I need, comes last and truly doesn’t matter from the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM.

And I am utterly broken because of it.

For the past seven weeks I have poured out every last ounce of patience and grace and love I am capable of. I have used up all the energy I could muster to help these children. To teach them how to take turns instead of grabbing each other’s toys. To help them pull up their pants when their body is so sweaty that everything just gets tangled up. To give them a fun and valuable preschool experience amidst a damn pandemic and a staffing shortage.

And because of it I have nothing left.

Not enough strength to get out of bed in the morning. Not enough mental capacity to have conversations with friends. Not enough energy to do the things I love and bring excitement to my life. I have nothing left to give.  

So I yell at them. I use my stern voice and stare them dead in the eyes. I say “no thank you” more often than I say yes or maybe or let’s try this. I roll my eyes and quite honestly I’m moments away from cussing out a child.

And at night when I say my prayers I ask God to help me be a better teacher. To not yell so much or not snap at the kids as quickly. That’s been my prayer for months, and I’ve been telling myself I’m a terrible teacher for months… But the reality is I’m not a terrible teacher. I am a damn fantastic and fun and loving teacher. But I am past the point of exhaustion that I am completely burnt out.

My therapist said I’m trying to give from an empty tank. That I can’t possibly do anything more because everything that I normally hold onto has been depleted.

I am broken. I have nothing left to give. I feel terrible. I am past the point of burn out.

And I’m crying at my computer in the middle of my classroom as the kids nap. And I’m looking at them while they sleep and they look like angels. I love these little humans, I really do. But all the love I could possibly give to them is currently covered by a blanket of exhaustion.

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Five Years

I cried on my way to work as I drove up the street and looked out at the mountains. It was as if they were glowing- shimmering even. The way the light hit them and the clouds just barely rolled over the tops. It was beautiful, and I thought to myself, “Wow five years of this.”

Then I cried again a little later on in the day right after work. Finding a new place to live has not been the most stress free or predictable situation to be in. Then mix in people telling me what to do, how to do it, and not to buy the things I want to buy, and I just feel helpless. Like no matter how hard I try or what effort I put in, it’s not ever going to be enough. And the thought crossed my mind, “Wow it’s been five years of this.”

And that is the most true way that I can describe the past five years of living in Hawaii.

Because it has been beautiful. Indescribable most times. Take my breath away, is this even real life, how can I be living here. It has been great!

And then it has been rough. Barely having the strength to come up for air. Constantly feeling like the water levels are rising up around me. Not knowing where to put my feet or where the stable ground is. No friends, no family, and no good food just pasta.

It has been a fair share of crap and warm rays of sunshine, but I wouldn’t trade it for any other life.

I work a whole lot. 8 to 4 from Monday to Friday and then another dozen hours on the weekends. I am either driving to work, at work, or doing something related to work even though I’m not physically in my workplace. And it sucks to work so hard to just barely survive. But a couple years ago as I listed out these complaints to my cousin, he said, “But Meg, you still live in Hawaii.”

And guys, I still live in Hawaii.

I have quit jobs- actually just one job. I have intentionally broken ties with the people who were the reason I moved here in the first place. I have felt burnt out, and I have witnessed firsthand what it’s like to lose myself in the mess. I have maxed out credit cards, cried myself to sleep, and lost best friends. But I’m still here.

And no matter how tough it has gotten or how absolutely emptying it may feel, I have still chosen Hawaii. Because at the end of the day, it’s Hawaii. And the sun shines so bright. And the ocean sparkles in the light. And my job is incredible in every possible way- shout out to public service loan forgiveness and a great boss. And God is still so infinitely good.

Because in Hawaii I learned how to be an adult.

How to purchase a car. How to get a job. How to rent a house and how to pay for the utilities in said house. I’ve learned how to cook, and if you talk to Auntie Julie she will forever be proud of me for expanding beyond my quesadillas on the electric stove top. I love to roast broccoli, I can make French onion soup, and I’ve used my body weight in butter for all the things I’ve learned how to bake. Goodness if I walk away tomorrow, at least I can say I learned how to cook while living on my own in Hawaii.

I’ve chosen Hawaii and it has not been a bad place to choose.

Sunrises at Lanikai. Evening walks around my neighborhood looking up at the Ko’olaus. Beautiful beaches, warm water, and a constant 80 degrees year round. All good things.

So I think back on the past five years and the rollercoaster of a ride it’s been. The heartbroken tears, the beyond words breath taking moments, and everything in between… I would not trade in this life, but I do hope the next five years are a little bit smoother sailing.

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Is This the End?

May 21st 2014. I posted the first picture I took as soon as getting off the plane, and I captioned it “Fell in love the minute I stepped off the plane. Sorry mom and dad, but I don’t think I’m ever going back home.” And little did I realize then how true that statement would be.

Because fast forward seven years, and Hawaii is my home.

I have crafted the most beautiful life I could have never imagined. My job could not be more in line with what I believe and what I’m passionate about- and it’s not even the job I moved here for. I live in a home where I get to bake and have friends over for game nights and sit on the couch and stare out at the beautiful view. Every aspect of my life in Hawaii is a reflection of the decisions and hard work I’ve put into being able to be here. And I’m proud of myself for it.

That’s why this question hurts so much. Because I’ve worked so hard. But really Meg, is this the end of my time in Hawaii?

And I know the answer to that is no, simply because every time I even begin to think about it my heart breaks and my eyes water and my breathing cuts off. But the reality is, life has not been easy lately.

So much so that even my dad thinks this is the year that I move back to California. Because even he knows that I’ve struggled so deeply and so much in the past year.

If I were in California, I’d have my mom to live with and pay for all my groceries. If I were in California, I’d have my dad to drive me around and buy me quesadillas. If I were in California, I’d have Cassie- no explanation needed. If I were in California I’d be closer to family, closer to Disneyland, closer to In n Out. There are just so many things that work towards my benefit if I were in California.

But on the flipside, if I leave Hawaii I leave behind the largest part of my heart. And already I can’t breathe just thinking about it. Because if I leave Hawaii, I leave behind the part of me that paved her way into adulthood. I leave behind the beautiful places where I have felt God’s presence. If I leave, I’m saying goodbye to a wonderful job, a church I love, and great friends. All of which play a huge role in why I call Hawaii home.

And so I just don’t know what to do or what to think or how to feel.

Because in a couple months I’m going to be out of a house and I’m going to have to decide. Is this God telling me that it’s the end of my time here, or is this another hurdle where I have to trust in Him and He’ll completely blow my mind with an unthinkable solution.

I’m leaning towards the latter, but I’m also so tired of struggling to survive that I could easily trick myself into believing the prior.

Life in Hawaii this past year has not been easy. I’ve had tough patches here and there while living on this island in the middle of the ocean, but this last year was constant hit after hit of bad news. And so I know that if I leave now it’s not because I’m ready for something new in California, it’s because I’m running away from something in Hawaii.

Running away from broken friendships and failed relationships. Running away from the financial burden of living in paradise. Running away from the loneliness I feel as I watch all my cousins have a game night together while I’m home alone on rainy, cold, Easter Sunday.

I flew here that May of 2014 bright eyed and bushy tailed with so much love and adoration for a place I had yet to even discover, but if I were to leave tomorrow I’d be going with a hurting, heavy heart and a load of disappointments.

And I love Hawaii enough not to do that. To not leave broken because eventually the brokenness will turn into resentment, and the resentment will mean I’m never touching foot on this island again. I love Hawaii enough- and I truly believe I’m strong enough- to not do that.

Because I can work a few more hours at Madewell and not buy that dress I don’t need in order to save a few more dollars. And I can be social and take the time to create new friendships so I don’t feel so lonely. And even if it means I won’t be able to bake or invite friends over or sit on the couch and read, I’ll find a new place to live.

I don’t think this is the end because I think I’m willing to suffer through it to make it last longer, but I just wish I didn’t have to struggle anymore.

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Easter Sunday

“He is not here. He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matthew 28:6

He is risen.

It’s such a commonly used Christian phrase that it’s almost second nature to faith, but when you really think about it, it has such incredible implications. Declaring that Jesus is risen shouldn’t just roll off your tongue the way “I want ice cream” rolls off mine. Saying and believing that Jesus is risen should be more magnificent and meaningful than anything you’ve ever experienced.

Because the truth is that Jesus rising from the dead is the most wonderful thing that has happened on earth.

It created a way for us to enter into eternal life. It forever changed the way we have relationship with God. It fulfilled prophesy. Jesus rising on that third day did many things for us, but it also poses as a reminder that God is capable of doing the most unimaginable thing in our life out of His abundant love for us.

That means whatever you’re praying for right now, God will one up you and do even better. Right now I’m praying long and praying hard about being able to still live in Kaneohe after my uncle sells this house. And I know that even if I don’t get to live in this house and get to live in this neighborhood where I walk past the sweetest old man on my daily walking route, that God will one up my prayer and give me an even better home and better community to live in.

That means whatever situation you’re in that seems unbearable- like you can’t be in it for another minute- God will guide your steps and take you somewhere you didn’t even know was possible for you to attain. Like how I am sitting in the depths of loneliness and singleness, but I know that God will bring me to a place where I am one day surrounded by and flooded by the love of those around me.

That means that everything and anything in your life can change and change for good. Because God is in the business of restoration and His plans are always a reflection of His goodness. He might walk us through some valleys to stretch us and get us to grow, but He’ll never leave us there. And so even in our confusion, we can know that God will bring goodness out of every circumstance.

Out of is abundant love for us, God gave us His son. And unlike anyone else walking on earth then or now or in the future, His son lived a perfect life free of sin. How unimaginable that one could live without fault. And then out of his abundant love for us, He called His son to the cross where He would have to sacrifice His life as a ransom for our lives. How unimaginable that one would give their life for those he doesn’t even know. And finally, out of His abundant love for us He gives us the chance at Heaven.

And I truly believe that Heaven will be glorious- no sin, no pain, no hurt, no moths, no pickles, no credit card debt. But until then we have the opportunity to experience heaven on earth. We might not get the full effects of Heaven while living on earth, but we have the chance to get a glimpse of it while living on earth when we choose to live the way Jesus lived, when we choose to follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our lives, and when we choose to believe in God.

How unimaginable to have a piece of Heaven on earth when our world is so fallen and so broken. But how totally possibly when we know and believe that our God is good and what He has done for us is out of His abundant love for us.

He is risen, He is risen indeed.

And because He has, we can live striving for the unimaginable and attaining just a piece of it until we rest eternally with Him.  

0 In Daily Life/ Hawaii/ Uncategorized

Holy Saturday

“When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last breath, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” Mark 15:39

It’s over two thousand years later and we know now what they did not know then- in that moment. We read our bibles and we know that Jesus rose from the dead. We know that just as it was predicted in the scriptures, He came to life three days later. We know that He conquered death.

But to Mary Magdalene and Jesus’ mother Mary, they didn’t know. They witnessed the crucifixion and bore witness as Jesus was gruesomely tortured. Then as He was hung up on that cross, they grieved the suffering of someone they loved dearly. And now they’re sitting in their loss. Jesus is gone. He’s given up His soul. And all they know in this moment is that He has passed.

Imagine not knowing that Jesus would rise again. Imagine the feeling they had knowing the Messiah was killed and not knowing what was going to happen next. Because at this point, Jesus was undoubtedly the Son of God.

Even the centurion who probably took part in mocking and torturing Jesus admit it. Caiaphas most likely witnessed the temple veil being torn in half and then realized how wrong he was to have had plotted Jesus’ death. And then there’s Pilate who knew something was fishy and maybe now wishes he had trusted his gut. At the moment of His death, everyone everywhere knew who He was, but now He was dead.

How stupid they must have all felt.

But fast forward to present day, and we know.

We know that Sunday will bring a miracle. We know that Sunday will mark a prophesy fulfilled. We know that Jesus will rise again.

But that’s on Sunday. On this Holy Saturday, we sit in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. In between the suffering and the freedom. In between the loss and the deliverance. In between knowing the worst has happened but having faith that the best is yet to come.

And that’s why Holy Saturday is my favorite day of Holy Week. Because more often than not, I am sitting in the in between. Some days are torturous like Good Friday, and some days are joyful like Resurrection Sunday. But most of my days, I am between the suffering and the promise.

With God it’s not all bad days. Truly, the bad days are numbered and they don’t last for as long as they feel in the moment. Before you know it, the bad days are gone. But it’s also not all good days. Yes there are very, very many good days with God. Days when I get a good parking spot at the mall or days when the water at the beach sparkles just right. But even the good days are limited when we live in a broken world. And so truthfully, most days are sat right in between. They’re a mix of good and bad, and regardless of which outweighs the other, they all require a good load of faith.

Because when Mary witnessed her son being tortured, she needed to hold onto faith that this was all part of God’s plan. Then when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that it was empty, in faith she was determined to find His body and instead saw the resurrected Christ. It’s faith that pushes us to trust in God beyond our suffering, and it’s as a result of our faith that we will one day see Christ in Heaven.

So if I had to summarize it… Good Friday was a day of suffering. Resurrection Sunday is the day of rejoicing. And Holy Saturday is when we hold onto faith when we’re placed in the in between.