On my first trip to Hawaii in 2004 was two weeks long which enabled us to be there for the fourth of July. Dan had told us about the fabulous fireworks show that would occur on the Fourth, so toward the evening we headed for Magic Island where many gathered for the viewing. When we got there I was astonished to see what looked like a tent city! Large families were clustered under tents, each clan forming a small colony of ʻohana. Many had one large tent where the relaxing, cooking and eating occurred as well as one or two small enclosed tents for sleeping. Keiki were shrieking and darting around like small frantic and happy little birds! Kupuna, Aunties and Uncles were telling them to slow down, to come and eat, to lay down and take a nap. In short, regular everyday Hawaiian life seemed to be throbbing within and around the tents. It felt like a mass love-in of belonging!
It used to be some people who lived in Mainland cities observed that the more people they were around the lonelier they felt and they yearned for something they could not name. The loneliness of alienation seems no longer limited to just cities! Technology now enables us to be in touch with people everywhere and anywhere with more people becoming aware of their sense of not belonging. Their sense of aloneness can be seen in the multiplicity of match-up and dating internet sites and services.
The loneliness of aloneness is that of not belonging to others or anywhere, an experience of being disconnected from ones roots. We are made for relationships with others! At the moment of our birth we are thrust into relationships and it is within them that we grow into an awareness of ourselves. As we grow throughout our lives most of us seek to make new relationships but the ones formed within the Ohana, the family (even when difficult) are rooted in the deepest part of our psyche and our heart. Loneliness is the experience of being estranged from our own heart.
Eventually the fireworks started and went on for around half an hour. Each family group seemed to have its own unique way of greeting each new burst of dazzle and color: hoots, shrieks, yelps, and the occasional sung mele! Watching the fireworks, hearing the cries of those around me, I felt embraced and comforted by the generosity of their Hawaiian happiness! Isn’t that what we all yearn for?