A Starry Night: Iokepa and Malia

This is a story about two families. Malia had a large,
high energy family. It included her husband and six animated
but well-behaved children. As is the case with most Hawaii
families, both parents worked. In fact, to make ends meet,
both Malia and her husband each worked two jobs. His was two
full-time jobs and hers was one full-time and one half-time
serving food at a restaurant.

As you can probably guess, the family was not rich. At
least, not in the common sense of the word. Yet, what the
family had was worth more than all the money some of their
rich neighbors had. What Malia’s family had was love. Love
for each other and love for their neighbors (even the rich
ones), friends, and God.

Each year, as it came close to Christmas, Malia’s husband
would start planning the house decorations for their humble
abode. Where he found the time to do this no one ever could
say but it seemed he would out do himself each year. Year
after year he would add more lights and figures. He would
sing to himself as he strung the lights around the windows,
up the side of the house, over the roof and to the tree
limbs. With so many lights, you could see his house from
miles away due to the glow in the sky. Guided by that light
in the dark sky, thousands would come to marvel at the

But one bright summer morning, as Malia’s husband was
driving the kids to summer school, a speeding drunk driver
slammed his car into their van, slicing the van into pieces
and killing everyone except the drunk driver himself.

When the police reached Malia at work to tell her of the
sad news, she could not believe that her entire family had
been taken from her. It was a very dark time for her. Malia
fell into a deep depression. A depression so deep she began
to question God and how He could have allowed this. Her
depression lasted for over a year. Then another year. And yet
another as she struggled to find meaning in what had

Towards the end of the third year, when the cool winter
breezes began to flow down from the mountains a change came
over her. While her heart was still filled with darkness a
small flame of hope began to sputter. Day by day, it grew
bringing light to her life and with it a plan began to form
in her heart.

Malia decided she would continue on where he husband had
left off. She would once again decorate the house as a
memorial to his spirit and the life she once had.

She began by pulling out the lights that had laid
collecting dust for lo these many years. While doing so,
Malia was surprised to find something that her husband had
been working on before he had died. She carefully checked to
make sure everything was still in working order and then
began to install what her husband had been working on. It
took her almost a week to get everything set just right, but
by December 24th, she was done. All there was yet to do was
to throw the switch that would once again light the way to
her house.

During this time, our other family, neighbors across the
street headed by a man named Iokepa, was having their own
problems. It seems Iokepa liked to drink. Sometimes too much.
And when he got drunk, he would become full of rage. A rage
he took out on his wife and two children. It got to a point
in which his wife, fearing for her and her children’s lives,
took the children and fled to the mainland.

Iokepa too became depressed. But rather than feeling the
healing hands of time, he spiraled ever downward. The days
became just a blur until early one evening, he decided he
would end what passed for his poor existence.

He dragged himself to the bedroom closet where he kept his
gun and ammunition. By then, it had gotten dark and what with
the electrify long since turned off for non-payment, he
carried the gun and ammunition to the living room facing the
street. He collapsed onto the worn out couch and with what
little light there was from the street light a block away, he
began to slowly, methodically, load the pistol that would
finally take his misery away from him.

Just as Iokepa raised the gun to his head, he was startled
by a bright light that suddenly appeared across the street. A
light that made him close his eyes and put the gun down so he
could shield his bloodshot eyes. A light that came from
thousands of little bulbs strung by Malia and brought to life
by a throw of a switch.

Iokepa staggered to the window and as tears streamed down
his face, Iokepa gazed at the beautiful scene. It was of a
manger, filled with straw and a baby wrapped against the cold
in a blanket. And around the manger were His earthly parents
and visitors from far away. But what drew his gaze the most
was the huge star, glittering in the dark night. A star
created by Malia’s husband years ago and now showing the way
to life.

It’s Christmas Eve and from the Seto household we wish you
Peace, Love, and Light.

Have a Merry Christmas, Everyone – Aloha!


One response to “A Starry Night: Iokepa and Malia

  1. Dan,
    A Merry Christmas to you and yours, and a Happy New Year.