May the new year unfolding have you achieve your deepest aspirations that reflect your innermost potential as a person;

May it be the time to bring into the open the special gifts you bring into the world;

And may it be filled with enlightening experiences of compassion, love, justice and joy.

Those words were spoken at Sunrise Foundation’s glorious Near’s Eve celebration. The potluck meal featured Portuguese bean soup, several different salads, shrimp cocktail, Chinese stuffed appetizers, rack of lamb, baked ham, two kinds of curry, kalo served with coconut milk, rolls, bread, rice, an array of desserts, trays of a variety of mochi, and I’m sure, still more that escapes my weakening memory. To enhance their flavors and textures, wine, champagne, beer, soft drinks, coffee, teas and filtered water with fresh lime, orange and mint were also served. We called it a “Eucharistic” meal, to proclaim its openness and inclusivity.

Much of the evening was spent in poignancy and laughter as nearly all of the nineteen vibrant souls who came shared something of the significant markers in their life’s journey in 2017, along with their hopes for 2018. Among them, David Laeha told of the impact Nana Veary’s book, Change We Must, had on his life and Sr. Bitrina Kirway shared how the vision and mission of her Maryknoll sisterhood shaped her life. Also, Michael Yano inspired us with his gift of music, Sr. Joan Chatfield lead us in a prayer of healing and JP Sabbithi was our “fireworks” with his humor!

A fitting closing came towards the end of our gathering when Margy Hamai led us in a 20-minute meditation arising from her Buddhist tradition. She gently invited, then guided, us to reflect on the change we want to happen in our lives in the new year. We were reminded that “there is only one way to bring in the new. You must make room for it.”

Mahalo nui loa to the following who quietly worked behind the scene setting up, serving, washing and cleaning up towards the smooth and seamless happening of the event: Yolanda Hernandez, Debbie Laeha, Ron Yamauchi, Sharlene Yamauchi, Rene Austin, Shanti Mizuno and Amy Mizuno. (If I missed you, you were more like a “menehune”!)

Now we shall forge ahead together.

With grace and gratitude,

Wally Fukunaga

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