As we toured through the Iolani Palace our docent took pains in almost every room to point out objects which had been scattered to the winds, and even around the world, at the overthrow of the Monarchy. By various means and many kindnesses many of these Royal objects have come home. Beyond acknowledging all that painfully occurred at the overthrow, it should be noted that more than just objects were scattered; Hawaiʻi’s own heart was wrenched off its moorings! In becoming torn from their own heart Hawaiians became exiles even while living in their own ʻāina !!
The returned objects give rise in some to a yearning to go back to the Monarchy, to sort of just pick up where Hawaiʻi left off before the overthrow. Would this really give Hawaiʻi back to itself? The prodigal objects should inspire a Hawaiian pride and remind Hawaiians that they have a significant spiritual contribution to give to the world: that to receive Hā from others and to give it to others is what living is about… whether in the form of Aloha, ʻOhana, or Kuleana.
Life goes forward by being lived. It never returns to what it once was. And if there ever have been a people who understand the livingness of life, it is the Hawaiian people: hula, lūʻau, mele… all speak of life being lived! The coming home of Royal objects serves to remind the Hawaiian people not of who they were but of who they are, for that remembering is also a coming home for the Hawaiian heart!
Like patient kupuna, today’s Hawaiians can welcome back these lost objects with a loving embrace, an embrace that is celebration of their coming home, and not a sad yearning for what once was.