On the day of our helicopter trip over Hawaii's Volcanos National Park on the Big Island , my husband and I woke to twenty mile an hour winds and clouds scudding across the horizon. I relished the sense of danger. If we crashed, I'd get a ticket to heaven and freedom from the sense of darkness overshadowing my life.
During the previous three years, my mother and sister had both died. Each of my sons had experienced their own personal tragedies and I'd absorbed their pain like a sponge.
The light in my world seemed to dim as depression settled over me like a cloud. But as I packed my bags for my trip to Hawaii, I hoped that I'd be able to forget my problems and enjoy my vacation.
I was disappointed when depression followed me across the ocean to Waikoloa Hilton Resort.
While I knew that snorkeling with sea turtles and colorful fish should be a spectacular event, my heavy weight of sadness snuffed any pleasure. I took no joy in the tropical beaches and pools laid out like jewels across the hotel grounds.
So when my husband suggested a helicopter ride across the island to Kilauea Volcano and Hilo, I shrugged and agreed without enthusiasm.
At Blue Hawaiian Helicopter, the staff strapped me into a window seat next to my husband. A mother-daughter pair chatted nervously as they took their places on the other side of the cramped cabin.
Soon the copter began to vibrate and the rotors to whir. Airborne, we gained speed and altitude. Before us, two mountains presented themselves as a wall. Our pilot pointed out the pass we would fly through to Hawaii National Volcanic Park and the other side of the island. As we neared Kilauea Volcano, he explained that steam was the only volcanic activity they had seen of late.
Then suddenly, his voice became charged with excitement. “But today, we are in for a treat! The crater is lit! In all my years of flying this route, I’ve never seen it like this.”
When he dipped the helicopter to my side, I saw why he was so excited. A pot of lava bubbled up through a crater on the side of the mountain. When he turned the copter so the mother/daughter duo could see the view, he apologized for the clouds shrouding it. When he tipped the helicopter to my side, the clouds parted to reveal the bubbling crater.
After this happened a few times, I sensed the still small voice of God speaking to my heart. Someday, I will call you home. But for now, love my earth. I created it for you to enjoy. I love you.
I began to marvel at the orange lava pots shining against the layers of ash and took delight in the molten lava streaming down the mountainside.
Too soon, we left Hawaii National Volcanic Park and floated over a jungle where farms, homes, and schools near Hilo dotted the land. Waterfalls poured from cliffs into the sea.
As we flew around the island, God continued to speak to my heart. Just like this island, I was his creation. My life had erupted in tragedy that burned like hot lava as it spilled across my heart. But He was forming new land in me. Someday, the parts of me that felt like a wasteland of barely cooling ash would be green, alive, and flowing with living water.
When we landed, my deepest depression had lifted and I sensed that the creator wanted to use my own creativity as a part of my healing.
That idea was confirmed when, at home, my artist friend, Kathy, took me under her wing to teach me visual arts. Her fun and encouraging instruction led me to a new found joy of painting.
Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Oregon. Oil on canvas. Janet Asbridge, 2021
I have also had great fun creating stories for kids and adults, some of which you can find here.
Each of us have our own creative gifts. Whether it be planting, knitting, building, sculpting, cooking, photography, playing an instrument, or making somebody laugh...
Creativity gives us joy in all the seasons of life.