God is in the Flowers

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Dear Editor: Please reprint this message from Adam Keawe Inau Manolo Camp, “God is in the Flowers: Marriage Equality and the Queen,” originally published by Peter Apo, Board of Trustees, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, PeterApo.com.

[Keawe writes:] “With this marriage equity debate, I have heard people make rather strong comments (opposing same sex marriage) and invoking the name of the Queen (Lili‘uokalani). My grandmother, Sarah Kamakalili‘uokalani, was born in 1900 and was given her middle name by the Queen herself. Her mother, Lilian Kinimaka, was one of the last companions and ladies in waiting of Queen Kapi‘olani. . . .  So my family knew a thing or two about the members of the Royal Family. 

“According to my grandmother, there was a time when some Christians did not want Buddhist priests to come to Hawai‘i and were protesting and calling Buddhists ‘idol worshipers,’ ‘hana pagana (pagans),’ and other ugly names. They wanted Queen Lili‘uokalani to endorse their position. So they went to seek an audience with Queen Lili‘uokalani at Washington Place.

“According to my grandmother, the Queen smoked her cigar and then remarked to them ‘God is in the flowers.’ Some of the people looked bewildered. Then the Queen explained that God loved gardens and made many different types of flowers . . . yet they were all flowers and beautiful in their own vibrant splendor. Gardens are beautiful exactly because of that diversity of flowers. . . .

“I do not believe that someone as enlightened as the Queen . . . would condemn people who simply want their love to be recognized. They are flowers of God too. I believe that if the Queen were alive today and people came to ask her for her advice regarding this issue, she would say the same thing – God is in the flowers. . . .

We all live on the same planet and somehow, as the world shrinks, and belief systems crash head-on into each other, loaded with the raging passion of deeply held moral convictions, we must find a way to navigate this garden in which we are all planted by first seeing the beauty of the garden in its wholeness, keep the dark side of our humanity in check, and reach out to each other on those things about life on which we agree.”

Shared by Beverly Mendheim, South Seattle Friends Meeting (NPYM)