Words from the sidelines …

This is a week of amazing victories and sad defeats, and our primaries will bring both emotions to different parts of our community. So much energy and hope is focused on both local and national elections, as we plan for a better community, a stronger future.

Watching the Olympics is a relief compared to some news coverage, because at least the yelling, the shouting, and jumping about makes sense. The thrill of teamwork, and the pride of victory, is shared by us all. And we have their backs, when it comes to defeat, because they gave their all to represent us.

The world watches. Despite the new technology, the vast sums of money spent to create the venue, the media, and the teams; ultimately, it all hangs on the human spirit of courage and daring. It is generated in the spirit of ohana and teamwork, that blends differences into one strong force, driving forward into the future, the long dreamed victory.

Some teams are so evenly matched that we sit on the edge of our seats , willing them on, and nearly breathless, waiting to see the final outcome. And after all a team’s hard work, a single goal, a final stroke, a chance misstep, may sweep them to glory or send them into defeat.

Recent incidents in our community have left me wondering what is happening to that spirit. Two incidents in particular, set the Facebook pages ablaze with such flaming and hateful talk on one side, and such pain and agony on another, it left me stunned. What happened to common compassion and “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”?

People talk to me, and despite what some think, I listen. I have been listening for the best part of the last 40 years. The first 20 years, your ears are too full of yourself to hear properly. It takes the rest of your life to understand what you heard from your parents and teachers. A few heartbreaks, disappointments and common garden variety failures help open us up to listening and paying attention

Some of the stories I have been hearing lately are disturbing. Not because of the incidents, those are sad enough. Because of the way people are tearing each other down, and no one wins when we make people smaller. No one gets bigger by cutting their neighbors down. They just get lonely.

Some Facebook conversations recently sounded like lynch mobs. I disconnect more and more, because I can’t bear to watch the ones who are throwing stones not understand that the bones they break are their own.

The Coconut Wireless, is faster than a speeding bullet, but not nearly as accurate. Facebook comments spread rumors, prejudice, hatred instantaneously, and the person who started the fire, isn’t even there to see the burns they have caused.

This world is hard enough , and life contains more than enough pain without us adding any more. We’ve all made mistakes and said words we wish we could take back. But let’s not put them on Facebook where they will go viral.

From Mary Kawena Pukui: “I ka ‘olelo no ke ola, i ka ‘olelo no ka make.” “Life is in speech; death is in speech. Words can heal; words can destroy. Be careful what you say.” And even more careful on Facebook.

Aloha makes us great.

•••

Virginia Beck has lived on Kaua’i since 1971. One of KCC’s first RN graduates, she was a nurse practitioner here, and in the Stanford community, a Certified Trager® Practitioner, and a childbirth educator. A rich educational experience in European countries, Pakistan, and the mainland were good preparation for our multicultural chop suey Kaua’i life.

A Wellness Coach and writer, at Healthy by Design Hawai’i, she helps her clients erase stress and design “Lives they Love”. 808.635-5618

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