Cheers to Land Blessings!
As you may have read on Wednesday (when my breakfast routine was quickly upturned), we were invited to observe a Hawai'ian land blessing.
And, yes, this is actually part of my job.
The ceremony was straightforward and purposeful. Kepa Maly, the cultural expert of the event, started by describing the importance of respecting the ancestral knowledge of the land and the Hawai'ian names that places were originally given. The ancient names are both beautiful and practical. (Hint: when a place's name means "flotsam and jetsam," you might not want to build a giant mansion there because odds are that it floods with ocean crap every couple of years). In short, it pays to know your history; and it pays to know your names.
Kepa then highlighted the relationship between people and the land that has existed since the beginning of creation. This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned in my ten days on the island. Through morning coffee chats with Sunee about Donald Miller books, nakedness, the Garden of Eden, and farming, I have been overwhelmed with the beauty of the originally intended relationship between humans and the land on which they live.
It was the first real job Adam ever had. Farmer. Wanna know how hard it was to be a farmer back in the day? Well, before there were even any plants and before there was rain, “streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground” (Genesis 2:6). And then ”God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food” (Genesis 2:8). After spending a summer on a farm in Kenya, let me tell ya – this is the dream!
Not so after the relationship between people and God was broken. The earth became difficult to work. With my very little personal experience with gardening (I once planted a garden for the kids I nannied; I also grow tomatoes, herbs, and lemons), I can tell you this is truth. Farming is hard work, y'all!
Land. Technically, I came from it. From a clean, deep breath, in the dust. And some day I will return to it.
Until then, I hope to love the land I’m on: to grow my own food, to never litter, to not hate the desert for its dryness or the South for its humidity, to appreciate the view.
Though it's undeniably easier to appreciate the view when it's this outrageously beautiful.