Ever since we returned from Hawaii, I have been trying to put our experience into the perfect words for this blog. After struggling for weeks, I finally surrendered to the fact that I can’t and embraced that I’ll just have to do the best that I can. Words are funny things. They can be used as a tool for harm or for healing. They can be used to bring peace or discord. The can be used to deliver Truth or deceit. But at the end of the day they are all meaningless on their own.
That sounds kind of strange coming from someone who reads as much as I do and hopes to write more books in the future, but the fact stills remains. Ask most people and they would likely say that words have power. I say that this is a lie. Words are powerless without association and intention. If the person hearing the word has no prior association with the word or at minimum some kind of context, then the word is powerless. Let’s take the word “Hemolele” for example. Does it mean anything to you? Chances are that it doesn’t and yet it is associated with one of the most powerful ideals I have encountered in my entire life. I learned this word in Hawaii from a family who welcomed us into their home and housed and fed us during the whole Tsunami scare. They also taught us other wonderful words like “Ohana” and the true meaning of “Aloha”.
As Brother George Chee, the family Patriarch described them, these words have the following meaning:
Hemolele means to be Holy as in 1 Peter Chapter 1. The method behind taking action on the idea that this word represents is simply to give all your junk/old garbage to Christ. I guess the best way to do that would be to just watch the thoughts that come to you. If your destination is to be ever mindful of God and His Love and the thoughts aren’t going that Way, then very quickly “Hemolele that junk”, as Brother George said.
Ohana for the most part means family or as they put it in Lilo and Stitch, it means “no one gets left behind”. But this family as I understand it is not solely based on blood relation. To put it in biblical terms it is more in line with how Jesus explained His “Ohana” in Matthew 12:46-50 when he said, “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”
I mean lets face it, people who you are related to by blood do not always qualify as a true “family” in the Spirit that the word is supposed to convey. However, I can tell you that the Chee Ohana are the very embodiment of this word, Ohana.
Aloha is generally thought to mean “hello” and “goodbye”. The Chees taught us otherwise. They said that in its purest form it means, “I love you.” Like Hemolele, it is what I would describe as a whole word. What I mean is that this word can be used as a noun, verb, or whatever. Fundamentally, Alo means “Presence” and Ha means “Breath”. You could translate it as, “where the Breath of Life is Present” and you’d be very close to understanding it if you honored that ideal. We were also taught by Leigh, one of the brothers from the Ohana, that before the land was Westernized, men used to greet each other by putting their foreheads together and breathing in each other’s breath from their nostrils–their Ha. He said that the breath from your nostrils is always true whereas man has the ability to use words to lace the breath from their mouth with lies. How powerful is that if you love Truth? I still feel his forehead against mine and I know his Aloha is True.
I deeply desired to share this with everyone I encounter and I am working on it. God knows that I love each and every one of you with my entire Ha. I struggle with this blog because I want you to know that, as the Chees expressed to me, we are One Ohana. I am hoping that while I am in seminary for the next three years I will learn how to convey what it is that the Chees live daily. I know that we are living in a world filled with distractions and it is constantly reinforced that we are not good enough. I know this is a lie even though I don’t know how to convince people how precious they are. But I do know that realizing this starts with trusting God, relating to the God in ourselves, and then looking for it in others too. It is basically trying to live like the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.
Now am I going to say that it is easy. No, I cannot say that. But I can say that life is harder when you don’t at least try. That’s what this post is. It is an attempt to give you everything I have. I’ve been trying to write this for a month and this is the best that I could do. I know it falls short, but hopefully I’ll do a better job at living it. Like the title says, ” sometimes words aren’t enough.” Just remember that the power is not in the vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, or any of that. It is in the intention and the association. All this to say, my intention is for the God in me to say to the God in you, “We are of One Ohana. You are Hemolele. Aloha. I pray that you got the message.