At our church here in Rincon we have a very large doublewide at the back of the property which contains some offices, a large room for Fellowship, a large kitchen, utility room, and my two private rooms; my office where I hold meetings, and my bedroom. In my bedroom are what I think of as my three “Hawaiʻi Shrines.”
The original one came about after my first visit to Hawaiʻi in 2004. Once back in Rincon the ache that I felt for Hawaiʻi was absolutely visceral, and just as with my artwork those feelings needed to be incarnated around me. So, in the middle of one wall is a large map of Hawaiʻi surrounded by 4”x6” framed photos I have taken there. The first Shrine has 73 of these photos.
After I returned from my two weeks in Kauaʻi and feeling that ache again, I created the second Shrine having to do solely with Kauaʻi, comprised of 69 of the 4”x6” framed photos. The third Shrine is a rod bridging a wide gap between two bookcases which holds all of the dried leis from my 5 trips to Hawaiʻi; 33 leis in all!
The dictionary gives the following meaning for the word Shrine: “A place of religious devotion or commemoration, a site hallowed by association with a revered person or object or with an important event.”
My three Hawaiʻi Shrines are where the flame of my love for Hawaiʻi burns, even when I am out and about involved in the other elements of my life here. When I return to my bedroom it is like going to the Embassy of another country… of Hawaiʻi; when I am there I am back again in Hawaiʻi.
If we don’t take care to fuel what we love, the flame of that love can go out, in which case we become émigrés from our own hearts, without a country, without a home. Just as when I sang in the monastic choir, here in Rincon I try to put myself in harmony with Hawaiʻi through my Shrines, so that when I move there in 2019 I might experience a real and deep sense of having come home.
Only 3-1/2 years to go!