Monday, March 28, 2016

Peeking Into Paradise - In Pictures

Beloved and I went for a walk on Friday, which in Hawaii, happens to be Prince Kuhio Day - a lovely little holiday honoring the last prince of Hawaii, who was never allowed to claim his throne, and so, he became a statesman and represented his people in the Hawaiian Congress.

So, we ended up at the Valley of the Temples. For those of you who have not been there, it's a very large cemetery on the leeward side of the island (about 16 miles south of us). This particular cemetery boasts a sea view (well, if you look just over there to the might just catch it).

So, do you see it? We were literally at the top back corner of this extremely large cemetery, and that's all we saw.

Doesn't matter, the place is still gorgeous.

The most famous section of the park if the Byodo-In Temple. I wrote about that a while ago. It is an exact replica of a famous temple in Japan. It's a lovely place to visit.

One of the charming aspects of Valley of the Temples are the many faith based or family based memorials, mausoleums and chapels.

One way or another, everyone was represented.

Some of the more unusual markers

 Two tributes really touched my heart. I hope you take a moment to read the sentiments:

"In response to the promise of liberty, opportunity, justice, and freedom of religion, we left our native lands which we loved so dearly and, coming from the farthest corners of the world, we arrived in America. We fished her waters, farmed her fields, worked in her factories, sold her produce and realized that here in this beautiful land, we had fulfilled our hopes and dreams for ourselves and our children. Now united as one people, we work toward our goal of living as equal Americans.

God bless America and the good people who made her strong.

Such an excellent point. Most all of our citizens came from somewhere else. It is our ancestors who dreamed of freedom, and longed for dignity. They came and worked hard, sacrificing even their loved ones back home to partake in the bounty offered in this new world. These are our people, and we are theirs.

First Resurrection

Dedicated to the memory of those members of the Iglasia Ni Christo (Church of Christ) who  have steadfastly and unwaveringly labored and served in the name of our Lord Jests Christ and almighty God, for they shall take part in the first resurrection:

...and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God, they had not worshipped the beast, or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years, and this is the first resurrection.

Blessed and holy are they who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years (Revelations 20:4-6 - NEV)

What better place to honor the knowledge that we will all be resurrected than this sacred place of rest for so many loved ones?

I felt such peace and love here. Months ago, on our first visit, Beloved and I saw families who were litrealy having a b'bq with Grandpa. An elderly Asian woman was set in a comfy old beach chair next to her husband's headstone.  The son cooked on a portable grill. The wife and children tended to the gravesite, weeding, changing out the flowers, .... and they were laughing, and loving and enjoying their day. No sorrow - because they knewthat they would be together again.

I'm so glad we came here this weekend. It has made the resurrection so alive and real to me. I have no fear of death. Why should I? My Heavenly Father loves me, and will welcome me to paradise with open arms when it is my turn. I have great confidence that my family is there too - all of them. Because they are good people. Because they also are children of God. Because he loves them as much as I do. I miss them, but I no longer grieve for them, because they are still my family exactly as they've always been. How grateful I am for that knowledge and that comfort.

So, to round up my little tour of the Valley of the Temples, let me tell you about an added bonus. There is a dear little section for one's beloved pets, which considering what we discovered next, got me to wondering.

You see, the cemetery is literally overrun by cats.

Dozens and dozens of cats!

Kinda creepy, kinda fun, kinda stinky.

A woman was walking around the spacious grounds with a large container of cat food, pouring a little here, a little there. None of them looked like they were starving.

I don't suppose they get to use that pet section when they head off to kitty heaven but they sure seem to be having a marvelous time while they're still alive.

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