Moami was headed back to the islands. That’s what he told our men’s group last Wednesday night. Every Wednesday, about a dozen of us gather to share in the scriptures and support each other (after all, you can’t surf at nite, and some of the guys actually work during the day). Moami is one of those guys, and he stands out in our “haoli” group because he is pure-bred Hawaiian--from Kona, the Big Island. And after 6 months away, he was headed back there. And we were sad to see him go. But we understood. You see, Moami, is a waterman.
For most of his adult life, he’s been a boat captain for a big game fishing outfit. He has spent more days of life on the water than on land. He had moved his family to the mainland so he could take care of ailing in-laws, while his kids could benefit from attending schools with stronger academics. But now, he was going back to the water, going back in the water. Moami tells us he always keeps a board on the boat, in case they drop anchor at some reef pass that has surf potential. The clients can fish in the channel while he cleanses body and soul in the water. We imagine that board of his must be a tanker, because at 350 pounds, Moami won’t be riding the lastest pro tour-inspired potato chip.
Moami’s words to us: “I need to get back to the ocean. Heck, I live in it. All my growing up days I’d walk down to the beach every morning and ride some waves. Maybe surf. Maybe boogie board. Maybe body surf. Always looking for the barrel! And the rest of the day just goes good.”
Then his thoughts move from his world to ours: “You need to come out! You get one of those cheap airfares and come. We’ll set you up. We got place for you to sleep. Or if you like nice hotel, we got hook ups. We take you out on the boat. We show you the aloha.”
The aloha. A word born in Hawaii, as surfing was birthed alongside of it. A word for love. A word for giving, and even sacrifice. Moami assures us he’ll welcome us with open arms should we get off our collective tails, block out some time, and book that flight. And I believe him.
Surfing at its soul must contain ahola. Go ahead, give a stranger a set wave, and cheer him on. Or lead an out of towner to that spot that will handle the swell and wind direction. Let a friend borrow that favorite board of yours.
When you love and give and sacrifice you connect your life back to the aloha, and back to where it all started as a sport of kings. But deeper still, you connect back to a God who actually defines himself as aloha…
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. –John 4:7,8