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He said, “This is a friendly hand symbol that means, ‘thank you,’ or ‘things are great.’” But things are not great there now. The death toll is in the nineties now, and there are hundreds who are unaccounted for — who may never be accounted for. The search for bodies continues, and no doubt, the final count of fatalities will be even more soul crushing.

As for the survivors, what’s left for them? They have been left homeless, and since most employment revolved around the tourism industry, I suppose most have also lost their means to support their families. Some have nothing but the clothes on their backs. My heart aches and breaks for them.

As for the beauty, well, this paradise has been lost. It will take years and years to recover and rebuild. And it will take a lot of resources.

So many of us have visited Hawaii, and the Maui people in particular have been so hospitable — sharing their island with us and taking care of us while we are there. It’s our turn to extend some Southern love and generosity to these people who have showered us with kindness and island spirit. If you are the praying type, I ask you to send up some prayers for the people of Maui. They’ll need a lot. As for me, I’m also sending a donation today. If you want to help financially, too, please consider donating to the Hawaii Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund (www. hawaiicommunityfoundation. org/maui-strong).


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