On November 19, 2010, there was a car crash in Kona involving 27-year-old former University of Hawai’i star quarterback Colt Brennan. He was a passenger in an SUV driven by his girlfriend, Shakti Stream, also 27, who crossed the center line on the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway and hit an oncoming car head on. Stream’s injuries were minor; Brennan’s were more serious but not life-threatening. But the innocent victim, 47-year-old Dr Theresa Wang, ended up in a coma.
That happened during my Lonely Planet Big Island trip, so I watched the local news fixate on this story due to Brennan’s football fame. Nevermind that the Hawai’i Warriors were trashed by the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2007 BCS Sugar Bowl, or that Brennan probably won’t make it in the NFL. He was a local hero and will always be.
Recently I stumbled upon the We Love Hula Terri blog by Wang’s husband, David Chen. Both immigrated to Alberta, Canada, and then became US citizens before moving to Hawai’i in 2006. She is a physician; he is Director of Finance at the lush Mauna Lani Bay Hotel. I read his January 5, 2011, post, describing the couple’s move to Colorado for specialized spinal-cord-injury rehab, and skimmed his prolific blog archives. One post featured this Honolulu Star Advertiser article that captured Chen’s attitude toward Stream.
He struck me as a forgiving, compassionate, optimistic person with a resilient sense of humor. He is a devout Christian, which I admit typically gives me pause, but here his faith is obviously his source of strength.
Chen’s attitude reminded me of the yogic teachings beyond asana—and the way we can rise above the average person’s mindset. Could I be civil (let alone nice) to someone who caused unthinkable harm to my loved one for no good reason? Could I blog so openly about a crisis so great? Could I be as “big” a person as he is?