I love all things Hawaiian, and I dance hula with my “kumus” )teachers) as often as I can. I even drum an “ipu” (gourd drum) as well, and play ukulele. But what I love the most is the tradition of “ohana.” Ohana is family plus friends and those we care for. Another sweet Hawaiian tradition is the affectionate naming of male and female elders (whether or not they are blood family) as **”auntie” and “uncle.”
All of this made me think of the friends I have in my life who have become family. I feel the same love and loyalty for them as I do for my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, my husband’s family, my step-daughters and their husbands and their children. It is one big ohana, and it is as strong a bond as bloodlines to me.
How lovely would it be to view all those we meet in life together and honor them as family! If you are a fan of the Disney movie “Lilo and Stitch,” you are familiar with what Lilo says about ohana: “ohana means family. It means that nobody gets left behind.”
I think of the friends I have made throughout my life, and how much they mean to me. Over time, they have become true family to me. Some of us met each other when we were children. Some of us got to know each other at different times in our lives. There is a definite feeling you get when you meet a kindred soul. You may not be able to put a finger on it, but you know how you feel about this or that person when you meet them.
I often refer to the Chinese theory of “the red thread,” which is explained as such: “An invisible [red] thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, and circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle. But it will never break.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb.
We are indeed “tethered” to those we love and cherish, as well as keeping our hearts and minds open to those we meet later on in life. What a grand plan! It reinforces the surety that we meet for a reason and a purpose. We may never see the reason or purpose right away, but it is there just the same.
*From Wikipedia: *”Part of Hawaiian culture, ʻohana means family (in an extended sense of the term, including blood-related, adoptive or intentional). The concept emphasizes that families are bound together and members must cooperate and remember one another. Ohana is the bringing together of family and friends who are like family.”
**From Quorum: “In Hawaiian culture, to call an elder ‘auntie’ or ‘uncle’ is to communicate endearment and respect, along with an implied familial bond.”