Thursday, September 15, 2005

joie de vivre

I took the kids to Astroworld/Waterworld this past weekend to use up our "raincheck" from my birthday, and we had a blast. On the wagon wheel I watched this 20-something woman, rail thin and with a black eye, with her little 3-year old son hold her hands high in the air, close her eyes, and just so into the moment, waving her hands around with such joie de vivre. I wondered whether a boyfriend had given her the black eye. I know how it feels to seem so small that you are powerless, and so scared that you know when you are free you must use and enjoy that freedom and live in the moment. Life is so preciously short. Freedom is so integral to happiness. Give me liberty or give me death, in the infamous words of Patrick Henry.

When I was in high school hanging out with hundreds of kids on an empty street, some kid came up to my best friend and I and pointed a gun to us and started yelling at us, "Do you want to die? This gun is loaded!" - my friend laughed and walked away from the gun, and then he put the gun to my head and kept yelling at me. Kim yelled at him to knock it off and put the gun down. I was terrified. I could not move. He pulled the trigger at my temple. Then he started to laugh, and walked away.

Obviously it wasn't loaded. But this event shaped part of who I was and am. The use of power to intimidate people has affected my life. To Kim she probably thought nothing much of it, while other events shaped who she is. But to me, I saw the way people can use power to intimidate people into fear and helplessness - and it's real power - what defense did I have against that gun? And domestic violence is rampant, and hidden from view. Emotional intimidation is everywhere. When I was sixteen I wrote an essay on the abuse of authority by parents, teachers, and police. I was young but I was not naive to the way people try to push you around, lie, and pretend that it's normal.

I know that my time to die can be any moment. I have only these few moments of life to enjoy, and like the woman with the black eye swinging her hands in wild abandon on a little kids ride, I will never let any situation get the better of me. This is MY life. And I will live it, and I will enjoy my days. And I will not compromise truth, integrity, or liberty for anyone or anything.
I was so proud of the kids, they were scared to go to the Tidal Wave because it looks like a really tall water ride that dives down into this huge pool of water, and I convinced them to and said look by the end you'll be saying "I want to go again!" and sure enough, they wanted to go OVER AND OVER and we got soaked to the core - the ride utterly drenches you. It was so much fun. We held our hands in the air and screamed "woohoooo!!!!" and I just love those little munchkins. They are such good kids. So not perfect, but so full of love and their own joie de vivre and it is my prayer and intention to not let anyone ever rob them of that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your writings! I look for them every week. You can make us all feel. That is a real gift. Thanks.