It's been almost 3 months since my last post! So much has happened and I'm back to finally spill the beans.
I know that many of you have followed my story through losing my husband and losing Duke. I want to make sure to not only share my losses with you, but also my gains. Because the lows seem to be validated once you get to a high. And I want you all to know that it does get easier and it does get better.
Hawaii has such a special place in my heart. It watched me grow into a woman, into a wife, into a mom to Duke. It has taught me about living simply, that there is more to life than work and earthly things. And it watched me fall down onto my knees in the midst of my toughest season thus far. So much has happened here. Yes, I said here. :)
A few months ago I got a Facebook message that read "JT! Do you still want to come back? I'm hiring. The job is yours if you want it." The message came from a friend I had met at a conference in Maui in 2011. I'm notorious for keeping in touch with people and this relationship was no different except that he was equally involved in staying in touch. He never knew the details of what was going on in my life but he would often send me words of encouragement and lots of positive vibes. I hadn't mentioned moving back to Hawaii to him but recently he told me that he "could just tell" from my posts that my heart was on the island. So back to the message --- as you can imagine, I was about to explode with emotions. I was excited, scared, and had so many questions. Hawaii had definitely been on my heart but I had no plans of moving back so soon. I had built a new life in Texas. It seemed like it was just beginning. I had just started feeling whole again. Was I ready to start over.. again?
Without risks there are no rewards. Everything after that message fell into place so perfectly that it was impossible for me to deny that it was being handed to me for a reason. My marriage is what brought me to Hawaii in the first place. And if Duke was still alive, I don't know that I would have been able to come back. The flight to Texas had traumatized him and I don't know that he (or I) could have handled the months of quarantine that animals have to go through when entering the island. The way this all so effortlessly worked out is still blowing my mind.
My friends and family are all very sad that I'm farther away now. But they are also so happy for me. They've been amazingly supportive since day one and I know that my healing has been fast tracked largely because of them. The other day I was telling a new friend my story. I kept saying how lucky I felt to have this opportunity. She looked at me very bluntly and said "I mean, maybe some of it is luck. But I don't think you're giving yourself enough credit. You obviously are doing something right if a company relocated you here. You should be very proud of yourself." It was kind of like a lightbulb went off in my head at that moment. I guess I hadn't really thought of it in that way. I am pretty dang proud.
And because I've received so many messages telling me how strong I am, I need to tell you this --- I am not perfect. I make mistakes. A lot of them. And I have many moments of weakness. The other night I had way too much to drink at a place near my old home. Where I lived with my husband and Duke. Where our little family seemed so happy for 3 years. I left the bar I was at by myself and walked to our old building. I sat in front of it and cried my eyes out for about an hour. I mean sobbing. Like an embarrassing cry. People were walking by and asking if I was ok. It's a little funny and incredibly dramatic when I think about it now. But it felt good. I've done fairly well keeping myself together so letting it go so intensely and so publicly and in such a meaningful place just felt.. good. Since the majority of my memories here involve him, I thought I'd spend a good amount of time, at least at the beginning, fighting tears and trying to forget. But it's not like that at all. Just like before, I often find myself smiling at the memories. Because they're good ones. And I refuse to let him take away the good parts.
So here I am. Back on this crazy little island. I don't know why God brought me back here but I can't wait to live out His plan. It's terrifying yet exhilerating. I have no doubt that this is where He wants me. Because for the first time, in a long time, I feel like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.