It had been a pleasant day so far here in Kalaupapa. The sun was shining and the breezes blowing. I had just walked into the kitchen to get a drink of nice cold Kalaupapa mountain water. It was then that it hit me all of a sudden, perhaps prompted by that cold refreshing water, an expression from my younger days, “Who flung dung?” woke up my slumbering thoughts. Then I discovered by way of Google that there is a book on that subject written by Ben Redlich. The main character is Furley the monkey who is also having a pleasant day until someone throws dung at him. He is naturally upset — and who wouldn’t be? So, he goes on a rampage in search of the culprit who had flung dung at him. Little does he know that the offender is closer to him than he imagined.
Now you are probably surprised that I would write a piece on such a topic, seeing that I am a 77-year-old priest in “good standing” — at least so far. However, remember that I grew up on a farm and so am a son of a farmer. All of this brings me to the fact that in our world today there is far too much dung flinging. This can take the form of words or actions. It happens on a local level and on a national level. Take for example the situation of the vaccination versus the Covid, and the mandate versus the free will of the individual. A lot of dung is flying here. Then there is the situation on our southern border, which seems totally out of control. We have elected officials calling for de-funding of the police and now the streets of our cities are havens for criminals to prey on the weak, the elderly and the innocent. Who is to blame? Who flung dung? Afghanistan is has been taken over by the Taliban, opening the gate for possible outrageous actions. Who is responsible? Who flung dung?
It is quiet here in Kalaupapa this weekend as it usually is. It is a haven for those weary from work or from the news of the world. Sheltered though we are, we can not isolate ourselves completely from what happens in the outside world. Whether we are still in the springtime of life, or in the autumn season, we must live as a supportive community and never have to hear the spoken words, “Who flung dung?” Aloha.
Anchor columnist, Father Killilea is pastor of St. Francis Church in Kalaupapa, Hawaii.