by Chaplain Dave Hendrickson

I remember the first time I heard the line from Hamlet, “For there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” It was used in a way to highlight that a simple change of perspective, opinion, preference, or circumstance can lead people to come to wildly different conclusions and meanings derived from the same event.

Oddly enough, this line could not have been truer than as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seniors who make up the community at Pohai Nani have so much to teach us about resiliency and courage in the face of adversity. They have faced the Great Depression and battlefronts all over the world, as well as those occurring close to home, yet they continued to answer their duties to families, communities, and faith. Within this isolated community, and in the midst of crisis, gratitude and love have poured out and new friendships have formed.

The crisis is ongoing and will not soon be forgotten. However, here at Pohai Nani, we are making the best out of it.

Take, for instance, the bi-weekly “pep-rallies” that our residents and staff participate in. They emerge from their lanai banging pots and pans, blowing kazoos, singing songs, and giving glad shouts of acclamation for the care, dedication and sacrifices of the health services, dietary, administration, and the residents themselves. All of these actions help to keep our community happy, healthy and safe.

Spiritual Care at Pohai Nani may look differently than at other institutions served by PHM, but it’s still effective. Chaplains support residents through daily temperature checks, weekly worship bulletins, and a “word of the day” phone message (808-236-7888), all of which are designed to provide encouragement, check in with the residents, and let them know they’re not alone.

Crises take place all around us. But so do incredible acts of love and generosity through the arts of science, medicine, expressions, and faith.

“There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.” These words from author Toni Morrison speak volumes about the pandemic in which we are all currently living.

The world is bruised and bleeding; and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it’s also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.