The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made in Hawaii

Yeah, I remember that, O Soul within.

When I was in high school, our whole drill team went to Hawaii. I was part of that drill team. I enjoyed dancing, but my kicking lacked horribly. Splits launched right into my worst nightmares. There wasn’t a limber bone in my body except for my double jointed toes. Why they let me on the team, I’ll never know. I, Shelli Ann Fomby, was initially an “alternate” with grace bestowed. There … I said it. O Soul within, why didn’t you try horseback riding?

But nevertheless, this girl held airline tickets in her youthful hands, bound for Hawaii. The one and only. Excitement filled my every fiber because my grandmother had always talked about Hawaii. “I’m going to Hawaii before I die,” she’d always say. The only problem with that was she’d never get on an airplane. But I went instead.

Money was tight in our family, so I left Texas with little spending money. I’d have to budget well. I was disciplined, as my mama always said … I could handle this. O Soul within, you thought you knew so much.

For being so young, we girls clinched the free rein given to us on that island of Oahu. Definitely more freedom than I’d want to offer my teenagers today. And several friends and I found our way to market, where tourists could purchase souvenirs–T-shirts, hats … pearls.

There before me was a tank full of mollusks. And you could pay to have the attendant crack open so many shells to see if you could find a pearl. Boy howdy, as my Pa-Paw would say–I paid to search for a pearl.

Well, I found a pearl. Imagine that. It was large and blue. And it hadn’t cost me much. O Soul within, do you remember how beautiful you thought that pearl?

You can probably imagine the next question asked to me:

“Do you want to purchase a 10k gold ring for your pearl? We’ll fix it right here. $149 or so. You can have it today. It will look so pretty on you.”

You know right where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Don’t do it. Don’t do it. “I’ll take it!”

I spent all my extra spending money on that pearl ring. I missed the luau. I missed the surfing lessons. I missed everything because I spent my money. I went home with merely a pearl ring, a lei, and a second degree sunburn. I didn’t use enough sunscreen. O Soul within, clearly, you needed your mother.

The sunburn caused me misery, and I missed all the fun memories with my friends–stuck at the hotel room–because I was low of money.

I’m on the right, and my dear friend is with me. Must be 1984. This was one event that was included with the trip … thank goodness. It was affordable. Do you see my sunburn? I had blisters on my chest–painful. My face didn’t get sunburned too badly because of my thick make-up, I’m sure.

I never liked that ring. It was a large pearl and towered over my little fingers. It felt gaudy. It boasted the bad choice I had made … all the good memories that I had missed. My stupidity. It laughed in my face. O Soul within, how could you …?

I still have that ring. It’s tucked away in my jewelry box. And all these years later, my girls love to search through my jewelry box … dig through all the old jewelry that I never wear. And guess what piece of jewelry they love the most?

You know right where I’m going with this, don’t you?

They love that pearl ring.

And you know right where I’m going with this, don’t you?

All those wrong choices made … the gut-wrenching memories … the ugly … the loss … the choices that cost us dearly. O Soul within, when you learn the hard way, you never forget …

O Soul within, never forget.

When we love God, He turns our bad choices into pearls–pearls of greatest price. No alternate. The real deal–with grace bestowed. Glory!

Because He knows right where He’s going with this.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” –Romans 8:28

8 thoughts on “The Biggest Mistake I Ever Made in Hawaii

  1. Oh, Shelli, this is beautiful. I love being reminded “He knows right where He's going with this”. Romans 8:28 has always been a favorite of mine because I'm so prone to learning the hard way.
    Blessings ~ Wendy


  2. Aw, Shauna! I'm smiling so big … so sweet for you to leave a comment. Oh, I did, too … especially my grandmother's jewelry … yes, her broaches … they were always so sparkly. 🙂 And my daughter found my class ring … she said, “Mom, how did this fit you?” It was so tiny. I said, “It was made for my pinky finger!” 🙂


  3. Shelli, I loved this post. And having just returned from Hawaii, I know of the vendors which you speak. 🙂 I've made bad choices too. And they tend to haunt me, especially those with visual reminders. But thank goodness God is faithful and extends His grace to me (us) over and over again. Thank goodness He can redeem even our bad choices!


  4. Amen, Jeanne. Amen. I haven't been to Hawaii since that time. I want to, but we always seem to choose Disney World instead. It's fun, but I'm so worn out when I get home and usually need at least a week to recover. We walk ourselves ragged. 🙂


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