Honolulu City Lights

I’ve been listening to some music from Hawai’i today. The Beamer Brothers (who have many tracks on Youtube) are a beautiful of older and more modern sounds from the Islands.

My wife and I moved to Honolulu in 1970. I will never forget the strong smell of Plumeria blossoms which welcomed us in our first moments off the plane. A thousand memories return to me when I smell jasmine (which grew just outside our living room and filled the house with a beautiful fragrance), or see videos from ocean divers (which send my mind back to Hana’uma Bay) or touch bamboo hear a reference to Pearl Harbor.

But most of all, yes, most of all I remember the spirit of Aloha which truly touches the hearts of all the peoples of Hawai’i. Char and I quickly came to appreciate how amazing it was that we were received with such live, since so much damage has been done in the Islands by Haoles (white folk from outside the Islands).

Once, when the InterVarsity staff was at a conference on the mainland US, we found that people wanted to treat some of us differently than others. The Chinese, Filipino, Korean, Japanese staff members were considered a minority. We met together one afternoon and talked about it. the two of us who were Haole thought of ourselves as the minority and were always grateful that we were never treated as outsiders. After much discussion, we decided that on the mainland we would insist that we were simply Hawaiian and racial differences didn’t matter. Back home we were aware that we were a crazy mixture of many races but that was just a cause to celebrate the richness we knew by each contributing our uniqueness.

After ten years (almost to the day) our time was up and we stepped on a plane taking us away. With us were our three children, all born in Hawai’i and therefore kama aina (children of the land). We wore so many leis we could hardly see. And tears welled up from hearts filled with love and gratitude.

Not long after that, a friend sent us a Beamer Brothers album entitled “Honolulu City Lights.” It has now been 34 years since we left. Yet this music — and especially the title song — bring tears to my eyes.

Lookin’ out upon the city lights
And the stars above the ocean
Got my ticket for the midnight plane
And it’s not easy to leave again
Took my clothes and put them in the bag
Try not to think just yet of leavin’
Lookin’ out into the city night
It’s not easy to leave again
Each time Honolulu city lights
Stir up memories in me
Each night Honolulu city lights
Bring me back again
You are my island sunset
And you are my island dream
Put on my shoes and light a cigarette
Wond’ring which of my friends will be here
Standing with their leis around my neck
It’s not easy to leave again
I cannot remember the beauty of Hawaii and her people without the words “Thank you, Lord” rising from my heart.
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About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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