As I peek outside our window, my morning was greeted with freshly fallen snow that blanketed our surrounding all-white. Because of the numbing cold, I pulled up the thick blanket over myself and dreamed of a much warmer paradise…..
A paradise where the sun kisses the prancing ocean waves. Where the eternal summer breeze caresses the dancing palm trees. Where the proud mountains are always lush and green, and where mighty trees boast their broad and dense canopies. Where visitors are welcomed by hanging leis around their neck, while beautiful smiling women with flowers in their ears greet “Aloha”.
Not so long ago, my family were blessed to visit the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Here, we jaunted through the island and witnessed the enchanting places and scenery. Here we waded and played in its warm seawater. Here, we laid and unwind in its alluring beach. Truly this place is like a paradise, so it’s not a wonder it is one of the happiest places* on earth.
However this place is not totally free of its own problems and difficulties. The traffic jam can be terrible at times. There are beggars and homeless people who wanders around and sleep in the parks. And the local residents whine that the price of commodities are so high and the cost of living here is so expensive, that they say this place is only for tourists. Even on this “happy” place, there is no shortage of people who are forlorn in love.
If we would be familiar with its history, this paradise is the place of such vicious tragedy, a site of awful bloodshed, when the Pearl Harbor was attacked during World War II. Thousands of lives were lost, and some are still entombed in their watery grave up to this day.
My point only is that even in a paradise-like place, it has still its own troubles. In fact, even in a perfect paradise, the Garden of Eden, it still became a place of temptation, disobedience, and fall from grace. This has caused all of the misery of mankind.
Is there really a place of paradise? To me, a paradise is not a location. It is not a place that can be seen in a map. For me, it is a state or condition in life. A state in life where you are happy and contented. A state in life where your dreams are realized. A state in life where you are free to love and is freely loved. In paradise – love reigns.
I looked around where I am now. My wife and my kids were still fast asleep. They transcend happiness and peace in their faces. It is true that even in such a frigid place like this, a place buried in snow, can be a paradise.
(*According to the recent Gallup poll, Hawaii is the happiest state among the 50 states of USA. Iowa though, made it to the top 10 too.)