After enduring months of lockdown during the height of the pandemic, strict 14-day quarantine protocols, and the ensuing economic impact of the shutdown, Hawaii has finally and fully re-opened. Masks mandates have been lifted and people are slowly, albeit cautiously, returning to some semblance of normal.
So, how have the past two years shaped us? And, what will “normal” really look like? What lessons will we take with us and will we be better people because of what we have endured?
A lot has been written about the effects of the pandemic on our psyche and our society, but today, I want to focus on the one trait that will help us move forward in the days, months and years ahead. It’s called aloha.
Meaning of Aloha
How do you define aloha? Aloha is simply an essence of being. It means living in harmony with the people and the land around you. To show aloha means to extend grace and show kindness. Aloha is peace, compassion, and respect. Aloha is love.
Living in Hawaii comes with many challenges, perhaps now more than ever. We have concerns about our economy, supply chain issues, food and water supply, housing shortages and skyrocketing prices, rising inflation and astronomical prices at the gas pump. The list goes on and on. But, so must our aloha. In spite of everything we’ve endured, our aloha has to endure more.
Stories of Aloha
We have all witnessed instances where aloha was less than lived-out during the pandemic. We’ve heard stories of people acting out, losing control, and behaving badly. But, for every bad story and incident, we’ve heard countless other stories — stories of aloha. Stories of people like you extending grace, lending a helping hand, and doing whatever you needed to do in order to keep our state and each other healthy and safe.
People live in Hawaii and visit Hawaii for many reasons. The natural beauty alone fills us with awe and wonder. It is reason enough to be here, but it is the aloha spirit that permeates our hearts and gives us a deep love and respect for our island home. And, it is that same aloha spirit that we need to call upon to move us forward. We will rebound and we will be better than before, if, and only if, we rebound with aloha.