Last summer, Phil, Caroline, and I took a trip to Hawaii. We arrived late in the evening to a dark, warm island. By morning, we were walking along the beach, finding Maui to be as magical as we’d imagined. Green mountains laced with white clouds hovered in the distance. Morning rays bounced off turquoise water. Cold, wet sand caked our feet.
We spent every day pretty much the same way: get up, eat breakfast, go for a walk, and hit the beach. We soon realized that this is how we’d spend our days if we were at any old body of water. But we were in Maui, so we added a couple Hawaiian highlights to the schedule, including a Road to Hana tour on the last day.
The Road to Hana tour entails a bus ride to the other side of Maui, largely undeveloped. We would see waterfalls and rainbow eucalyptus forests and black-sand beaches. All week we anticipated the Road to Hana tour—saving the best for last.
Finally, the day arrived. We boarded the shuttle, but before we’d even reached the official departure point I was nauseated from the bouncing bus. I swallowed hard and prayed for my stomach to settle. At the first stop, the tour guide offered a spread of donuts and coffee, so I scarfed down some food—anything to tamp down the queasiness. Caroline was also green with motion-sickness, but she followed my lead, eating an apple fritter and orange juice.
At the next stop, we saw her apple fritter and juice all over again and worse for the digestive wear—like a liquefied cheeseburger in paradise. Hoping the worst was behind us, we got back on the bus. It was not. Our girl threw up six more times as the tour covered sixty miles of winding roads. Kind strangers dug plastic bags and random napkins from the bottom of their purses for us.
By the end of the twelve-hour trip, I shed tears of happiness to be heading back to the hotel. Surely there was nothing left in her innards, I told myself. We were completely out of bags, lunch boxes, and paper towels, so she threw up one last time in the folds of my rain jacket.
It was like a perversion of the miracle of loaves and fishes: how can so much come from such a small breakfast?
We thought it would be beautiful—an experience to remember. And while we had a wonderful time on vacation, it was punctuated by one bad day: a day of vomiting and of catching vomit. I believe more firmly than ever that the esophagus should be a one-way street.
Anyway, I was reminded of our Road to Hana nightmare because of the prevalence of another kind of puke: word vomit. Technology allows us to publish our thoughts quickly, easily, widely, and sometimes without actually thinking. On social media or the news media, we are likely exposed to some degree of word vomit every day.
To some extent, words are symptomatic of one’s inner state. Jesus puts it like this: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” Another version says, “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” One might even add, “The fingers type what the heart is full of.” When someone’s words show you what is filling up their heart—whether truth or deception, love or hate—take note.
And, whatever you do, don’t try to catch it with your jacket.
Thanks for reading! And if it isn’t too gross, share it with a friend who might enjoy!
-Em : )