Foreword to "The First Lamp"

By Cathleen Hulbert

This book has its own spirit. From the time it pushed itself into my awareness as a story wanting to be told, I experienced it as a collection of friends. Some of them are very old and familiar friends with a deep sense of the Divine. As I wrote "The First Lamp," I often felt angelic energy around me. And it would not surprise me if I learned that one of my most persistent muses had wings. Human beings have always learned spiritual lessons through stories. I just happened to be sending out a signal that I was ready and willing to write. I encourage you to do the same. We all have an imagination that can serve as a portal for the Holy Spirit.

Like the great turtle within this novel, "The First Lamp" carries a message of eternal love. Writing it all down has had a profound impact on my life. I have not always known about the plight of sea turtles. I have not always taken the time to truly investigate what I can do to help. Likewise, it was not until a few years ago that I felt a deep need to connect with Hawaiian culture and the healing quality of Aloha. As I shaped the book the book was shaping me into someone with a burning love for Hawaii, someone who now recognizes the truth about the needs of Mother Earth. Her future is our future. The ancients understood this holy oneness of things. My prayer is that I continue to understand it a little more each day and that you will, too. Together we will write new stories.

I am deeply grateful that the spirit of Hawaii reached across the country and touched my life while I was working as a social worker in an Atlanta children’s hospital. Skeptics might call this a “reach” of another kind. No matter. Spirit will work its wonder on them as well. On some level high above my conscious mind, I know that it all makes perfect sense. Like Sarah in this book, I also learned so much about human goodness while living in New York City. It is a city that I will always adore. As a microcosm of the world, New York allowed me to witness just how regularly diversity can transform itself into brotherly love. And so it felt very natural to synthesize the ancient, illuminating lessons of Aloha with New York City’s colorful and edgy brilliance. Both provide an opportunity to witness humanity at its best.

Thank you for opening yourself to this story. Sarah and Kalah, the twin flames in the book, are in some ways aspects of me. They also are aspects of you. So are the others: Porter and Gabe, Kai and Aunt Twylah, Uncle David, Makani and most of all, young Pablo. As you read this novel, you might see yourself in their ups and downs, their triumphs and setbacks and their occasionally silly human behavior. Perhaps the parts of them that you chafe at the most represent aspects of you that want to be acknowledged and healed. Above all, I hope this story will make you laugh. The levity that laughter brings is liberating. As Kalah says, “If you knew how much you are loved by Spirit it would break your heart. It would break your heart wide open and you would be free.”


Copyright Library of Congress 2005                                                                          Back