In my last post I mentioned that I get to travel to Hawaii for work. It is truly a privilege and a blessing. Usually when I tell people I get to go to Hawaii their response is something like, “oh that must but rough” or “you’re so lucky!”
They are no doubt referring to the sunny weather, the beautiful beaches and the warm water. They are right, all of that is nice and I’m lucky to experience it, but it isn’t the best part. What I enjoy the most is the people.
In my time in Hawaii I get to interact with high school counselors, prospective students and parents, George Fox Alumni and parents of current George Fox students in addition the people I meet at hotels, airports, stores etc. They are some of the most gracious, caring and friendly people you’ll ever meet.
You may have heard of the Aloha Spirit. It’s not some board of tourism propaganda. It’s the real deal and the word that best describes the culture of Hawaii. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience it first hand for many years.
It is demonstrated in the warm greeting I receive at each school I visit, often accompanied by a big hug, in the gifts of chocolate and other tasty morsels I’m given at every stop, in the parents of current students who graciously help promote George Fox at college fairs, receptions and in everyday interactions with those they encounter, in those same parents who have taken me out for meals and invited me into their homes always offering whatever they can do to help and sharing their lives and friendship with me, in conversations with colleagues who have become my friends even though we only see each other a couple of times a year but who remember little details about my life and family and ask about them each time we meet and always have time to “talk story” no matter how busy they are. I could go on….
The word “Aloha” in the Hawaiian langu age literally means, “hello,” “good-bye,” and “love.” But its meaning goes so much deeper. According to Hawaii state law, “Aloha” means “mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. ‘Aloha’ is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence. . . .”
It comes down to a genuine care for people and for putting others and the needs of the greater community first. But it goes even deeper than that or what I can accurately articulate. I encourage you to visit the following link to learn more: http://www.to-hawaii.com/aloha.php
If you travel to Hawaii and don’t take the time to get to know some local people, you’re missing the best part of the experience as well as the real Hawaii. The Spirit of Aloha is a gift that us mainlanders can receive and bring back to share with those in our community and continue to spread the blessing.
Sprinkled in this post are pictures of just a few of the friends from Hawaii that I’m so blessed to know.