Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 23 (or: of Swastikas and Lollipops)

Just because I love contradictions. Nothing as wonderful as the opposites that exist in our world. Earthly opposites, political opposites, legendary opposites, philosophical opposites, emotional opposites, intellectual opposites. I am fairly skilled, I must say, in holding on to two opposing ideas. You can frequently find me play devil’s advocate (much to the annoyance of those who spend any appreciable amount of time with me), and pointing out the dualities that exist in the world around us.

Today, as a major departure from swastika dealings, I went to a Unitarian planning meeting to begin planning a middle school retreat weekend. A weekend which will be complete with snacks, and outings, and field trips and dances and scavenger hunts and capture the flag, and girls sleeping in one room and boys sleeping in the other. So wholesome. So innocent. The planning meeting was attended in equal numbers by youth and by adults. The youth, rather than swearing and being petulant, couldn’t stop with the effusiveness (seriously! And adults just indulged them in their effusiveness, no doubt thinking that it was a wonderful thing). I was actually stunned into silence by the complete oppositeness of the kind of planning and dealings that I have at “church” and the kind of planning and dealings that I have every day at work. Silence. Me.

At one point, one of the young-uns was dismayed by the “offensive graphiti” in one of the places the kids were hoping to visit. “We’ll have to cover it up before we can enjoy ourselves.” She said with youthful innocence. Cover it up! Cover what up (I query with a bit of rascally devil's advocacy, knowing precisely what things we'll be covering up)? Swear words? Graphic depictions of body parts? SWASTIKAS? The things that appear every day in the coffee-house I work at? Those things? So in essence, one group of kids I work with is expressing their angst by making raw depictions of the world they inhabit, and the other group of kids I work with is busy covering up all that angst and living brightly in the world of possibilities they see.

Now, don’t get any ideas here. I’m not expressing preference for one group of kids or the other. I’ve already said that I love teenagers, and I mean it. I love all flavors of teenager-ness. I’m just noting the complete and total contradiction. And loving it.

Day 23 of One Thousand Days I embraced the differences in this crazy world and switched gears from swastikas and swear words to lollipops and loveliness. Helping a different group of kids build their capacities and find their way in the world. And what a wild world it is that we live in.

23 down, 977 to go.

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