“Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me. When there is pain - it is my pain. When there is joy - it is also mine. I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me. I will not willfully harm anyone or anything. When food is needed I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian - this is Aloha!—Curby Rule from “The Deeper Meaning of Aloha”
Carol and I attended the ACTEC annual meetings in Maui last week. As we landed in Hawaii, we were greeted with the word “Aloha” and received an orchid lei. It helped me appreciate how important a greeting can be.
We attended church services in Hawaii and as a speaker approached the pulpit he uttered that word again: “Aloha.” To my surprise, the congregation responded in unison: “Aloha”. There was an instant spirit of connection between the speaker and the congregation that was tangible.
In our hotel we were greeted by bellman, parking valet, and housekeeper with that word, “Aloha”. My natural response, “good morning” or “good afternoon” seemed sterile in comparison. So I began to respond with a smile and “Aloha”. My “Aloha” always seemed to brighten the smile of the person who greeted me and I believe we were both injected with positivity by our exchange.
My last blog posting suggested the importance and benefits of a three- to five-second hug. Today, I’d like to encourage us to find ways to make our greetings and farewells positive and sincere rather than formal and trite.
Even when you aren’t in Hawaii you might have fun one day making it an “Aloha” day. Greet everyone with an “Aloha” and a warm smile.
During this worship service it was announced that a young family was leaving Hawaii and returning to the mainland and they were asked to come forward at the conclusion of the service to allow the congregation to sing to them. I didn’t understand the Hawaiian words being sung. The tune sounded like one I associated with the song, “God Be With You ‘Till We Meet Again.” I saw tears flow down the cheeks of this young father and mother. And then many if not most of the congregation filed up to hug them and present them with leis. This spirit of fellowship and affection warmed my heart and helped me realize how cherished meaningful farewells can be.
Elizabeth Mauske tells a story about a sweet but unusual friendship which formed between her mother and an old Araucan woman. The Indian woman often stopped at Elizabeth’s home on her way to or from the Temuco, Chile marketplace. Elizabeth’s mother would invite her in Spanish to come in for tea (mate) and a cookie or two. Elizabeth observed the warmth of the words “Mai-Mai” which was the greeting the old woman would whisper appreciatively as she entered. The old Indian only spoke her native Araucanian (an Indian dialect spoken in Chile and the Western Pampas of Argentina) so the conversation between the two women was minimal. She always seemed to bring some partridge eggs or berries as a gift. And Elizabeth noticed that when the Indian woman would rise to leave she would utter the exact same words. Elizabeth memorized that Araucanian phrase and later learned from a pair of missionaries that in English it would mean: “I shall come again, for I like myself when I’m near you.”
I am going to treasure that complimentary farewell and use it soon with a friend who brings out the best in me. What are the most touching words of greeting or farewell you have heard or used?
"Don't be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends"--Richard Bach