Tree House Shack

by Shana Rank

Not too many years back — before marriage, before university, and before kids — I found myself in an adventure of a lifetime. Newly baptized and my backpack full, I left my home in Colorado to live on an Island far out at sea. Kauai is the “Garden Island” of the Hawaiian Islands, and this was my new home.

I temporarily lived in a hostel, helping out throughout the week for free room and board, though I had my sights on a more permanent residence on the North Shore. After I got a job at a coffee shop in Hanalei, I began asking around and checking the local advertisement boards for a place to live. A friend shared a listing with me and off I went to check it out.

I remember walking into the “space” and laughing in disbelief to myself. What my eyes saw was a shack—literally boards nailed together around a tree, kind of like a kids’ playhouse. There was an outhouse and an outside shower. The footprint of the house was approximately 8 x 12 feet, with a loft to sleep in. The front door was a screen-door with a simple latch hook. I left that shack shaking my head and wondering who on earth could live in a place like that!

I could, and I did end up living in that shack. At first, I could not see the silver lining to my situation. I began to understand that my happiness and well-being did not hinge on square footage and air-conditioning. I also learned to find great contentment in only what I needed and nothing more. As a newly begotten member of God’s Family, I was taken care of; I had running water, and shelter and a place to grow. My lesson continues to be this: never doubt God’s Hand in my life—even when my eyes may deceive me!

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