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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 3, 2005

We're rich when we can share

By Janet Powell

"On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary, his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11)

These months of devastation in our country and the rest of the world have affected even the most remote families. We have found out that there is little protection from tsunamis, earthquakes, bombs and floods. We have seen families torn apart by circumstances beyond their control.

As we seem to recover from one drama, another unfolds with the closeness born of modern technology. "The end of the world is near," cry some. "There is nothing we can do," cry others.

Turmoil and fear rear their ugly heads; we look for answers, raising our hands to the heavens.

Yet, the flowers continue to bloom. Sunshine blesses the earth so beaten a short time ago. Soldiers come home to grateful families, just in time for turkey and trimmings. Breezes return to a normal music, singing through torn limbs and brushing them with kindness.

Some of our young come home for the last time, lying beneath our flag, quietly put to rest with the comfort of familiar hymns easing the pain of those left behind.

Citizens in damaged hamlets return to pile up the bricks for new foundations. They help each other clear the rubble and begin to build.

A closeness that wasn't there before is shared by neighbors as they reach out, learning about each other and opening their hearts and homes. They begin to care about the family down the street that they never knew before it all happened. They put their arms around each other and pause to pray.

Something good is beginning to come out of something so very bad. It's called life. And with life comes the helping hand of God.

We laugh, we cry, we celebrate, we mourn. We know that all the things we treasure can be removed from us with the thrust of a great wave and we ponder what is really important. We are forced back into the rhythm of life, becoming a part of it instead of just reading, looking and going on our merry way.

It isn't the end of the world, at all. Of course not. We will heal. We will rebuild. Christmas is coming. No matter what has happened, no matter where we are, no matter how little we have, we can begin to really understand what it's all about and change our attitudes about involvement with each other. We can begin to share what we have, no matter how meager. We are rich only if we can open our clenched fists of pain and reach for our treasure boxes.

Our gold is our faith, our frankincense is our hope, and our myrrh is the comfort we can bring to the circle of life.

We are holding the hand of God when we welcome his seasons with the joy of prayer.

Janet Powell is a Christian now attending services at The Makaha Won Buddhist Training Center.