How we live is influenced by what we value. What we value is influenced by what we have been taught and come to discover for ourselves. We are taught by those who go before us. Otherwise we’d be ignorant savages, less than human. Ancestors pass on to us not only their experiences (“Don’t eat the red fruit, it will kill you!”) but also their wisdom. They pass on to us who they have become which in turn informs us as to who we are. We are part of them. This has been true for me in my formation as a monk, in having been a disciple to my Abba. So we are the sum of their lives and of our own choices.
In an odd way it is not that I am choosing Hawaiʻi but that Hawaiʻi has chosen me. This attraction to Hawaiʻi feels to me as if the Ancestors of Hawaiʻi are calling to adopt me, to hānai me. So I come to this adoption as a non-Hawaiian Orthodox Christian priest-monk given the name Kahu Kimo, with every desire that Hawaiʻi become my family.
At the heart of each person’s moral life is the question, “What kind of person do I want to be?” Being a monk means having been trained in certain disciplines geared to making me face reality and truth: of myself, of my actions, of God and his relationship to us, and of our relationship with our Ancestors. One of those disciplines has been to embrace creativity, which demands flexibility, which is the embracing of “what if…?”
“What If?” is at the heart of my artwork. I tend to work in series of pieces because as I do one piece I then say to myself, “What if I did such-and-such, what would happen?” The move to Hawaiʻi in 2019 I’m contemplating is probably the biggest “What If?” of my life, wondering if I will be able to support myself and wondering if Hawaiʻi will accept me. All I know is that I am not going to reach 85 and have to say to myself, “What if I had moved to Hawaiʻi?”
I’m going to find out!