home, sweet home

The beach across the street from our Kona rental.

So we now have an address now in Hawaii, which is great comfort, although the search has already been an adventure. A few nights ago, we nearly settled on a rental home. It was simple, but nice, with a gorgeous view of the verdant cliffs and ocean. It was surrounded by coffee and fruit farms.

But there was a problem--or a few problems--not be overlooked. First, the isolation. The home was so private that there was a bathtub on the back porch, which the owner explained that he was able to use for its intended purpose because of the seclusion.

"Secluded" was the operative word here, a word that filled me with an ominous sense of dread. Isn't living on the most isolated island chain in the world secluded enough? Considering the fact that when I sit on my back porch and hear footsteps from above I think hopefully, "Could it be Marji? Could it be Mary? Perhaps they'll have a moment to chat with me!" I might not be cut out for this sort of existence.

And then there was something else about those lovely cliffs. According to my book The Big Island Revealed, these cliffs were caused 150,000 thousand years ago, when a huge piece of land fell into the ocean, causing a massive tsunami that washed over two other Hawaiian Islands and deposited choral on the mountains. Hmmm. Now that wouldn't be so worrisome if I hadn't gone on to read the next sentence, which read, "This area is, geologically speaking, still unstable. Just didn't want you to run out of things to worry about."

And then there was the bit about the human sacrifices that occurred on the shore just below the property, where, perhaps not coincidentally, the first Christian Missionaries also arrived and had their first service. And then there was poor Captain Cook, who came ashore near there and was much beloved by the locals. But one day, one of his traveling companions died, so he held a burial, which shattered the going illusion that he was a god. When the natives realized their error, they were forced to kill him. They then presented his bloody innards wrapped in a cloth to British sailors, who were--understandably--horrified.

Now all this might be quite interesting to contemplate--unless, of course, I was soaking in the tub on the porch under an expanse of lonely stars with nary a sole to hear me scream as Cook's spirit creaked up the stairs and . . .Enough of that!

Anyway, so I worried about the seclusion all night long, but John found another listing on Craigslist--a condo which looked wonderful--two bedrooms plus loft, nice kitchen, across the street from the ocean, interior tub, a well-run complex with pool and spa, five minute walk from Kona. But when I checked the date of the listing my heart sank--October 10. We've seen how these rentals get snatched up and there was no way that such a lovely and reasonably priced condo would still be on the market.

So I sighed and emailed the owner of the condo, hoping against hope that it had not been rented. In the morning, there was a warm email in my inbox from the owner, with some intriguing questions. He asked, in particular, how our Orthodox faith might shape our expectations of where we might live and how we might inhabit the space.

I wrote back: "One of the famous Orthodox writers, Fyodor Dostoevsky said, 'The world will be saved by beauty.' Orthodox services seek to reflect the beauty of heaven in their worship experience, and homes are, in a sense, an extension of that quest for beauty, order, and harmony. So I don't know if this is by coincidence or by design, but we always try to dwell well in our homes--we work hard to keep the place orderly, to be attentive to each other so that peace is present, and invite beauty into the home whenever possible!"

Within a few hours he wrote back, suggesting that we--he, John and I, speak by phone. It felt like a dating relationship where we had somehow made it to the next phase. Yeah! He also told me that he'd been interviewing possible renters for a month and hadn't yet found a good fit--until now.

I continue to awe at the way all of this has unfolded, and we rejoice in the beginnings of possibilities--known and unknown.


Marlene Kaim said...

Hello jenny,
Delightful blogspot!
I heard your interview podcast on Ancient Faith Radio concerning your new Everything book, and realized that you are the one who can reassure my anxious pregnant daughter that she too can be a blessing in her own home as MOM.
Amazon does not have your book in yet--is it available elsewhere?
Also, I am wondering if the mission you are going to serve in Kona is the only one on the Big Island? I visit my mother who lives in Hilo and am happy to know that Orthodoxy is finally reaching the beautiful people of the Big Island. You are right about the isolation--but at least unlike some friends of mine who are overseas (Dubai) you remain in the USA no matter the distance from everywhere.
What jurisdiction are you serving?
My husband and I are having a hard enough time getting a Church together in the Four Corners Area (Durango, CO and Farmington NM). We have a Greek priest from Albuquerque who is now coming once a month to our group to celebrate the Liturgy.
Exciting times, my dear. You have a lovely family--God bless each of you. Marlene Kaim

Julian said...

Wow! It's kind of cool that this guy actually tries to find responsible renters. I sure wish my apartment would weed out, say, people who play music too loud...

Jenny said...

Dear Marlene,

Thank you for your encouraging comment! First, about the mission, it is OCA and located in Kona, and is the only one on the Big Island, to the best of my knowledge, although my husband is open to doing some services in Hilo, depending on need. If you could send me your email address, he said he'd be happy to chat with you that way! Email me at jen@dayblue.com.

About the Mary book, it is sold via Amazon and it's called The Everything Mary book, by Fr. John and Jenny Schroedel. I know that you can buy it at Borders and Barnes & Noble too. I just saw a copy at my local Borders.

Thank you for all the blessings that came through your comments. Please pray for us as we go and as we begin this new phase of our lives.