“Then, in the nightmare of Monday and Tuesday, there was the struggle to keep normal when planes zoomed overhead and guns cracked out at an unseen enemy. There was blackout and suspicion riding the back of wild rumors: Parachutists in the hills! Poison in your food! Starvation and death were all that was left in a tourist bureau paradise.”
Betty McIntosh, Honolulu after Pearl Harbor: A report published for the first time, 71 years later, Washington Post 12/7/12
This morning, the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, I opened up my Washington Post to an amazing experience. An article written by a now 97 year old woman named Betty McIntosh who was a journalist in Hawaii the day Pearl Harbor took place. The Washington Post published her article today after 71 years has passed, as the paper she wrote for in Hawaii deemed it too graphic and traumatic for its readers at the time. The article was written 7 days after Pearl Harbor took place, a piece about the woman’s perspective of a war that began with great uncertainty and fear, during a time that many people view from their heart and safe place in the US- the holidays.
In reading the article, I felt emotional and wanted to relate her experiences to something deep inside of me that continues on its human course to heal. This journey that we are all on ebbs and flows with our fear and our light’s inner knowing. We oscillate between feelings of love and safety to feelings of uncertainty and sadness. The pendulum between the ego-driven mind and our connection to the divine, our inherent truth.
“For seven ghastly, confused days, we have been at war. To the women of Hawaii, it has meant a total disruption of home life, a sudden acclimation to blackout nights, terrifying rumors, fear of the unknown as planes drone overhead and lorries shriek through the streets.”
Betty McIntosh points out how on the morning of Pearl Harbor it was a lazy Sunday with people coming out of church still in their reality that a war could not possibly be taking place on their island. Her narrative takes us on a journey of coming to terms with the reality. Yes, a war was taking place, and as she walked deeper and deeper into that reality she saw things that shattered the safe place that most knew to be home. The forest of destruction became thicker with every movement. There are people still experiencing this in our world, every day, coming to terms with the expansiveness of the human existence and how our reality can so easily be shaken because it is so tightly bound with our expectations and what we are “used” to.
In our experience as fragile human beings, I find it important to remember that each day we could still possibly experience this same thing including our own death. We don’t know what plane will be ready to take off in our reality and we can’t count on our expectations because they are rooted in our desires rather than possibility. The only thing we can count on is our ability to choose our reactions and how we will treat people, what we will do that affects other people. If we can remember the humanness of our bodies that we experience this reality in every day, we can create a motivation to love. This is our gift. It is the greatest gift that we can experience within ourselves and in turn, our experiences with others. Our oneness will not evaporate like emotion or the quenching of an ego-driven desire. Our oneness will always be here to reflect on.
During this holiday season, I would like to extend my own kindness to all of you out there in the only way I can- in these words. I want to say thank you with all of my heart for every moment that you choose to reflect and to love. Every one of those moments is affecting me right now and my potential to also do good things. You are my olive branch, you are my peace- and I honor you for all that you have experienced as a human. Whether those experiences are rooted in trauma or joy, I have experienced the same, and I can relate.
As those during any war come to terms with the darkness in the human existence, I can only honor their experiences of suffering in my own and pray peace. I pray peace during this holiday season and hope that all may experience it in their interaction with others, so we may all remember that we are simply one. Pearl Harbor, along with all war, has a purpose now to teach us that life is a pendulum of swinging possibility and to embrace it with a motivation to live in our highest potential. Let us choose our light and shine, illuminating the path for all to experiences of peace.