In March 2006, Nancy Arcayna wrote in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that every time Hector Venegas hears the song “Hawaiian Lullaby” he is reminded of his daughter, Krista.
“The song evolved from the situation of my daughter’s life … her life-threatening illness. I was extremely broken-hearted,” Hector said. He wrote the song for Krista more than 30 years ago as she recovered from a long bout of bacterial meningitis. Putting the words on paper helped him deal with an array of emotions, from fear, anger and resentment to love, he said: “I needed to turn my negative thoughts into positive ones. I wanted to see things in a different light. I didn’t want to see a shrink.”
Where I live, there are rainbows
With life in the laughter of morning
and starry nights
Where I live, there are rainbows
And flowers full of colors
and birds filled with song
I can smile when it’s raining
And touch the warmth of the sun
I hear children laughing
in this place that I love
Hawaiian Lullaby – Words by Hector Venegas &Peter Moon
Today, many of us are dealing with similar emotions and perhaps now more than ever need to be reminded of the truths embedded within this beautiful song.
I would add only one new line perhaps:
Where I live, we help each other
Those who have less
Who share our love and laughter
And our island home
While we are surrounded by challenges that may seem insurmountable, it is important that we remind each other that where we live, there are still rainbows.
No matter how desperate the situation or how great the challenge, we need to remember always that we are incredibly blessed to live in this place.
We are surrounded by a natural environment that both heals the body and rejuvenates the soul. Whether by being in or on the ocean, walking a mountain path, or simply looking out the window at the stars or watching the sunset or rise on the horizon, our load will be lightened and our spirit reborn.
Yes, where we live, there are rainbows. We have the beauty of nature and of a people grounded in a culture of aloha. Where we live, we help each other.
Recently I saw that a friend had posted online, that they feared running out of food.
My first thought was that where I come from, we help our friends and that no one in my community was ever, ever going to run out of food. Period.
We just would not let that happen.
We’ve survived Hurricane Iwa, Hurricane Iniki, 9/11, the great recession of 2008 and numerous floods and rain bursts along the way. Through it all, we survived and ultimately grew closer as a community because we helped each other.
Similarly, we will look back at history and see that we survived the great pandemic of 2020, for the same reasons. Because that’s how we roll. It’s ingrained in our collective DNA – we help each other.
After all, if you go back far enough we are in fact all related. We are all ohana.
And as my grandson Rixon and granddaughter Isabella will no doubt be reminding me in the future, “Ohana means family, family means no one gets left behind, or forgotten.” (Lilo &Stitch)
As ohana, we must remember to reach out to check on friends and family. We must offer food and friendship before the need arises and anticipate those among us who might need additional help and support.
Yes, we all are taking a hit, but each of us can offer help in some meaningful way, whether it is with cash contributions to a worthy cause, or banana or papaya or lettuce from our garden.
To those who say that “it will never be the same” and that “life has changed forever” – I disagree and encourage you to revisit those thoughts. We collectively have survived many, many challenges over the years, from wars to plagues to earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunami. Rather than lamenting how things won’t be the same, or just simply thinking about surviving and returning to normalcy, let’s work together, learn from the past and create an even better future.
The good news is that Hawaii’s infection rate seems to be dropping daily. If we continue to be strong, stay home, wash our hands, wear our masks and practice appropriate social distancing – sooner rather than later some sense of normalcy will in fact return. But we must remain vigilant. Sooner than we think, the COVID-19 era will be behind us.
Life goes on. The sun always comes up the next day, this too shall pass and always, always remember that where we live, there are rainbows.
Gary Hooser formerly served in the Hawaii State Senate, where he was Majority Leader. He also served for eight years on the Kauai County Council and was the former director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA) and is executive director of the Pono Hawaii Initiative.