Footsteps in Faith: Tap into Hawaii’s wonders for inspiration

| May 26, 2017 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Maj.) Brian Koyn
Deputy Command Chaplain – Support
Integrated Religious Support Office
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Few natural habitats can rival the natural wonder of the Hawaiian Islands. Waterfalls pouring over rock faces in the middle of lush forests are the stuff of postcards. The vistas afforded after a tough climb up the ridges overlooking Waikiki amazes even the hard to impress. Maybe you have tried taking pictures of fiery sunsets over the North Shore knowing the attempt is futile because the recorded image will never come close to the intensity of the real thing.

These experiences bring to mind a single word – awesome. Not the flippant vote of approval we give others, but full of awe. Some researchers would define this experience as “encountering something so vast ­­– in size, skill, beauty, intensity, etc. ­­– that we struggle to comprehend it.”

The sight of these wonders inspires many to reactions like those of the warrior king David of the Bible.

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy” (Psalm 65:5–8, ESV).

Photo courtesy of Chaplain John Grauer

Research is now revealing some quantifiable effects of awe in our life. For religious people, inducing awe is shown to make us feel a sense of oneness with others. Simple acts like watching the powerful surf at the Pipeline leads to feelings of a small self which in turns makes us nicer, more generous and increases life satisfaction. While these feelings can even come from watching someone display amazing skill born of a lifetime of practice (think that viral video that must be fake because no one can do that), these events are relatively rare compared to the plentiful opportunities to experience awe in creation.

So, what can we do?

  • Senior noncommissioned officers with the 8th Special Troops Battalion, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, hike up the Kuli’ou’ou Ridge Trail. (Hawaii Army Weekly file photo)

    Take a walk, climb a mountain, get in the woods, watch the sunset on a beach, sit on the lanai and watch a distant lightning storm. Each of these acts put us in a position to be changed.

  • Read accounts of personal inspiration and self-sacrifice. Observing the best of humanity can have a similar effect as nature.
  • Seek out those who have such skill in a discipline that it forces us to adjust what we think is possible.
  • Bring others along in your awe-inspiring journeys. Some of us need a nudge to take a step away from the blandness of the day while others need someone else to lead into new experiences.


Category: Standing Columns

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