Last weekend, my family was here in Honolulu, and they came to church. It was so lovely to have them there – both to share with them the place and people of St Peter’s, but also to share with my parishioners a bit more about myself – some of the crucial parts to my existence.
Placing people is important – I find I can more easily trust someone if I feel like they are transparent – if I know where they are coming from, and a bit about their life story. In Hawaii, this placement becomes even more important – it is about mo’oku’auhau – genealogy – about roots, and ancestors, and ‘ohana. It is a way to be connected – to figure out who is family to who, and the ways we already know each other.
My mama is the best at this kind of connection.
She holds the family history, able to form family within moments of being introduced. When she came to the final meeting of the book study, she did just that – figuring out that one of my parishioners was classmates with my Grandma.
This was true at St James, my sending parish, also – a woman who served on my discernment committee was a classmate of my Grandma. The world seems to get smaller and smaller.
I adored my Grandma. I knew her as Gramma Hawaii, which in my mind separated her from my paternal Granny Jenny – but when I think about it now, Gramma Hawaii spoke also to her warmth, her openness, her laughter. Everything I love about this place now was encapsulated in my Gramma – the sweet scent of flowers, the colourful environment, the warmth of the sun.
As my mama helped to draw that connection, I felt pulled in – knitted together, as part of a bigger
picture that only God could be the author of. Only God has the patient hands to weave threads of families together like this – to create beauty like this.
St. Peter’s is beginning to be not just my home, but my ‘ohana, too.