Ohana is a word that many of us only know thanks to Disney. Ohana is literally translated into “Family.” What is a family?
A lot of you will probably give me the scientific and more rational answer family is someone you share some form of genetic component with. While yes, this is the definition of family the word also holds another definition.
I did some research about Ohana, as originally I wanted my first tattoo to be this word, and decided to look up what family truly means. In the Hawaiian culture, Ohana is more than the people you share genetics with. Family is anybody you would gladly have under your roof for dinner. Ohana is your neighbors, your friends, and the people you are genetically linked to.
This is not only Hawaiian culture but apart of my own as well. My family has a history of metaphorically adopting people, especially people who either live far away from their family or people who are estranged from their family. We’re the kind of people who you can just walk on in with pajamas and say, “I’m here for breakfast!” We’re also the kind of people you can call when you’re drunk and we’ll let you pass out on the couch for the night. There’s no need to knock at our front door because everybody is welcome and if there’s a mess in the house…well that just really means your family.
This is the kind of thing Jesus encouraged. This is another kind of community and once you’re in a community like this there’s no backing out! Even if you move far away we’ll always keep you in our prayers.
We’re a family of introverts and people who just have silly days everyday. We laugh with each other because the idiotic thing so-and-so did is just the kind of thing we would do. We’re all a band of misfits (kind of like the Island of misfit toys in the really really really old Rudolph claymation) and we get along because we know the other misfits won’t judge. (Though we may crack a few jokes about it.)
In the movie “Lilo and Stitch” Ohana was a word they used often. “Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.” Although this isn’t their literal definition of family, it’s more like a motto or a way you should treat family. In a way this kind of thing has always been apart of my family. Anyone who leaves will always be on our minds and in our prayers and we always remember to see the people we really haven’t seen for a while. In my family, even the lonely and forgotten feel like they belong. We don’t choose the people in our family and I feel Ohana isn’t the exception to this fact. We were all brought together by one force [God] and no matter how much we might pull away we’re always brought back around to the beginning in one way or another. I really wouldn’t trade this kind of family for any other.