As I drive along Highway 1, with the mountains to the east and the ocean to the west, I am reminded we are more like Lahaina than we might imagine.
In fact, we are Lahaina.
A beautiful coastline, a close-knit community, a downtown shopping corridor, restaurants, bars, a busy working harbor, hotels and picturesque beaches. On a Sunday morning we all either walk the dog, go for a hike, sit in traffic, run off to work, take an exercise class, go to the store, ride our bikes, travel to church, sleep in, work in the yard, meet a friend for coffee, etc. Whatever you do on an average Sunday morning, it is likely the sort of daily things we don’t think twice about and probably take for granted. At least that is how I go about my life.
As I drove home from my morning routine this Sunday morning, I found myself thinking: We could easily be going through what they are experiencing this morning as they wake up, probably not in their own beds, maybe even sleeping on a stranger’s sofa. Something horribly unthinkable. The unimaginable. Their worst nightmare. Paradise destroyed.
Every news channel shows us the destruction. Fire has devastated a seaside town stoked in history. Within hours, with no warning, it was reduced to an unrecognizable mound of smoldering rubble. Lives lost. History changed forever. Pets missing. Wealth erased. The planet scorched.
Social Media shows us both the best of people and the worst. Strangers come together to help each other and, at the opposite end of the humanity spectrum, a bride crying on TikTok about how her “dream wedding has been ruined by the fires and whatever will I do.” Yes, sadly we hear that too. Some people are shockingly shallow and selfish. It’s enough to make you angry — really angry.
But, we are Lahaina.
Let’s unite together and appreciate our community and each other now, while life is simple and good and easy. Say hello to that neighbor you never understood. Smile at a stranger. Stop complaining about traffic, buy a burger for the unsheltered person at the Safeway, open a door, adopt a pet, volunteer, shop local, but don’t “keep it local” as visitors help to bolster our local economy, much as they did in Lahaina. Make an emergency plan, support a farmer, offer your seat to someone. Apologize to that friend you have not spoken to in years, even if you don’t feel like it’s your fault. Donate your money or your time — pray. Let someone take that closer parking space. Use your turn signal. Offer a ride and slow down. Enjoy it, this is your life!
We are the coast. We are Lahaina.
I wish us much Aloha.
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David Oliphant | August 18, 2023
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