Friday, June 18

Vacation, Tragedy, and Sabbath

I am taking a mini vacation right now.  My dear husband is running a half marathon and a 10K at Disneyland, so we are here. I always live in the tension of the complicit self (the self that is complicit with oppressive forces) when I ponder my love affair with Disney. It can seem so commercial and so vapid. But yet, when I think of a place in my life that is a common square, this is a very special place. I remember the first time I went when I was about 8 years old. We came down from San Jose to Anaheim and camped with my grandparents across the fourth of July time span. I remember the magic of tinker bell flying through the sky. And the fireworks show. I loved the beauty and sparkle of it all! And I still do.

We moved to North Carolina and went to Disney in Florida. Then later, when I was a parent, we moved to Arizona and came to Disney in California again and camped in the same row of campsites that I stayed in so many years ago. My family has enjoyed Disney several times throughout the years. Tinkerbell always flies. And the fireworks are always beautiful.

But today, I hold the tension of Disney with the absolute horror of what has taken place in the world. The events that took place in Paris break my heart. We wandered Disney today and I was checking the news on Facebook and reading articles with my being seemingly caught in conflict. How do we hold joy and sadness together? Is it right to step away from pleasure when senseless tragedy happens? How do we stay present to what is in front of us when the world is crumbling?

I went in and out of being present to the world's mourning howl and being present to the joy of being with my loved one, here, at Disney. To be truthful, I felt, feel, a little bit like a split personality. I believe that we must hold onto the tragedy in order to learn from it, grow from it, and transcend it. I also believe that we must enter into places of joy. It is okay to have moments of happiness in the midst of tragedy.

Sabbath, as a practice, ultimately came on the heals of the Israelites leaving Egypt and being in the desert. They experienced oppression and tragedy as a people. When they were in the desert and forgot their experience of tragedy, they nearly undid themselves by building a golden calf to worship. Moses was so peeved he threw the 10 commandments to the ground! We always need to remember what we have traveled through...without wallowing in self pity! Holding tragedy and joy, together.

My hope for you, this day, is that you will not be overwhelmed by the events of the world. That you will hold onto hope! And that with hope, you will find her daughters--anger and courage--to walk with you so that you may transform oppressive powers through actions of mercy and justice.

“Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” 
--St. Augustine


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