Tending to our Garden


Leina‘ala Ahu Isa, Ph.D., Trustee, At-Large

“Life is Like a Garden…Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in our memories.” – Leonard Nimoy

Welina! Aloha mai kākou!

Those of us old enough to remember the popular episodes of Star Trek, will remember the late Leonard Nimoy tweeting these lines before his passing. In the role of his Star Trek character, Mr. Spock, he was also known for the phrase, “Live long and prosper!”

Yes, life is like a garden where we sometimes can grow perfection, enjoy the smell and taste of our beautiful flowers, fruits and veggies, but we can’t keep them forever except in our photos and memories.

Let me share a few variations of this phrase:

  1. “Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism. The way you play it is free will.” – Jawaharlal Nehru
  2. “Life is NOT like a box of chocolates because a box of chocolates are all good.” – Bill Maher
  3. “Life is like a sewer. What you get out of it depends on what you put into it.” – Tom Lehrer

Mai ka hoʻo a ka hālāwai lā

Yes, life is never that simple, but it is our garden. We bear the consequences of our choices on how we tend to that garden. Our individual choices can lead to important social outcomes… outcomes that might be more important for our future generations depend on us.

A sign I saw last Halloween read like this: “Life is like a box of chocolates…but 2020’s box was nothing except filled with NUTS!” I always go back to the word, “Aloha!”

A Result of Reflecting

What is the role we each play in creating a moral society, a society where all love humanity, a society that many of us are fortunate enough to live in?

Aloha kekahi i kekahi. “Love one another.” Do the people in your life know how much aloha you have for them? How about the strangers you bump into on any given day? Do they experience your aloha? What does aloha look like? What does it sound like? What does it feel like? Who decides what is honorable and noble and kind?

WE DO! We decide! We decide these things, and the outcomes are the result of ALL of our interactions with each other. Our interactions are neither controlled nor determined by any one person. The call to love one another is no easy task.


We all have been faced with the stresses of life or have found ourselves in situations where our patience was tested. Unfortunately, it is often the most challenging to be loving and compassionate to others in these moments, especially to those who are closest to us.

First and foremost, we want to be LOVED. When people approve of us we are pleased. When they don’t approve of us, we are disappointed, we are hurt. This desire to be loved, our desire to seek approval and avoid disapproval, to seek honor and avoid dishonor; this desire is embedded within us by God. Each action we take affects those around us. The effects created by our actions and our approval or disapproval of others create additional impacts on the world around us.

Let us reflect at this time of the season, and carpe diem…seize the day! Ke Akua pū.

Mele Kalikimaka to you and your ʻohana!

A hui hou till 2022, Trustee Leinaʻala