Puff the Magic Dragon in the Land of Hanali: Déjà vu and Déjà vécu of our Dragons

alan-on-pier-in-hanalei-kauaiToday’s blog may seem floaty, hanalei-bay-glistening-in-sunbut perhaps that’s what happens when you try to respond to the magic romantic-hanalei-bay-kauai-hawaiiof feelings and memories little-girl-near-kilauea-point-lighthousethat get all tangled up in déjà vu kathi-at-kilauea-point-kauai-hawaiiand déjà vécu. kauais-gorgeous-north-shoreWhen Alan and I were in Kauai recently, hanalie-kauai-hawaiiwe revisited places we’d seen almost 25 years earlier,waterfall-near-hanalei but we also found places we’d never seen before but recognized from photosplaying-near-little-waterfall-in-kauaitaken by our kids and grand kids about five years ago when they lived in Hawaii.quiet-beaches-near-hanalei-kauaiAlso, I experienced many sensations arising from early childhood memories. dry-cave-near-hanalie-kauaiOne of these centered around magical dragons. petes-dragon-2016-movieLike Pete’s Dragon (the 2016 updated version is really cute, by the way), looking-for-petes-dragon-2016-movieOgden Nash’s poem about “Custard the Dragon”
was a frightfully enchanting part of my childhood, petes-dragon-2016-movie-2and I’ve read that he might have bee a forefather of Puff the Magic Dragon,
who is much beloved by my son.
(I think every generation has their own dragons.)road-to-hanalieMichael’s family lived in Hawaii and felt quite sure that the the Land of Honaliwalking-out-on-the-hanalei-pier is the land of Hanalei along the north shore of Kauai, sea-cave-near-hanalei-kauai-hawaiiwhere Puff lives in a magical cave. kids-hunting-for-puff-the-magic-dragon-in-cave-hanaleiThe kids hunted far and wide trying to find him when they lived in Hawaii!na-pali-coast-kauai-aerial-viewWhen I flew over Kauai, I asked our pilot if he’d ever seen Puff.helicopter-on-na-pali-coastHe just grinned. “I see him every day! northshore-of-kauai-close-upWe’re almost there right now! north-shore-of-kauaiLook down.”  puff-the-magic-dragonSure enough, I could see Puff curled around Hanalei Bay
with his alligator-like nostrils in the sea. puff-the-magic-dragon-on-the-bay-of-hanaliePuff’s spiny back is formed by a ridge of mountains. puff-the-magic-dragon-breathing-out-fire-kauai-hanalie-bayFoaming “fire” (water) spews from his mouth,
and his furry right arm (trees) stretch out along the shoreline.hanalei-bay-and-pierAfter seeing Puff from the air, I wanted to take Alan to Hanalei
so we could experience “the magic” in person!view-from-kilauea-point-kauai-hawaiiThe road to Hanalei (Highway 56) really is magnificent! kilauea-lighthouseWe stopped at the Kilauea Point Lighthouse (great place for whale watching). kilauea-point-lighthouse-kauai-hawaiiThey let you use binoculars free of charge to observe the sea life and birds. nene-bird-at-kilauea-lighthouse-hawaiis-state-birdThey also host a number of Hawaii’s state birds, Nenes, who graze on the lawns nene-in-a-bush-hawaiis-state-bird-kauaiand nest in the nearby bushes! mountains-near-hanalei-kauaiKauai is such a beautiful island!church-of-christ-near-hanaleiIt’s dotted with lovely churches taro-field-near-hanalei-kauaiand lush with fields of taro. homes-built-on-stilts-hanalei-kauaiMany of the homes are built on huge stilts though, because during the winter,
their north shore is sometimes pummeled by 40-foot waves! surfer-family-living-out-of-van-in-kauaiFor some (like “Pete,” or this family) life seems pretty hard. (They appeared to be living out of their van and were feeding the children bananas and coconuts.) hanalei-bay-sunshine-through-cloudsI couldn’t help but wonder if their childhood memories would be happy or sad. What would happen to them if a 40-foot wave swept through?
What was life like for them living cramped together in a van?

hanalei-bay-in-sunshineEvery generation has their dragons. Frightening. Needing to be faced. Needing to be tamed. Needing to be left behind at some point, understanding that the magic of childhood—whether good or bad—is only the beginning of life, not meant to define us but to teach us wisdom and prepare us for a better future.

Last weekend I attended a wedding reception and was enjoying conversation with a friend I’ve known for over twenty years. He said a bit ruefully that he was the “black sheep” of his family. This man is my age and has lived a godly life for so many years that I’ve never known him to be anything less than awesome. It made me sad to think that he’s still defining himself by his failures as a young man. I wonder if “the prodigal son” from the Bible always felt like a failure.  dragons-leaving-petes-dragon-2016-movieBeloved, whether we had the world’s happiest or the world’s most awful youth, we have all fallen short of perfection. Nevertheless, if we’ve repented and surrendered our hearts to Jesus, we have become the children of God. We are redeemed! Our past has passed! Look up! The dragons are gone. Forget the past and embrace today. Rejoice in the love God has lavished on us and the fact that nothing can take that heavenly reality away from us!   sunset-on-highway-56-kauai“…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).