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have Joy

A great woman hovered above the glassy city as fifteen thousand marched below. With a keen eye for theatre and an understanding of audience, she knew this was a very good show. What an excellent day to die. The world is in many hands and she could let hers go. The heavens, in response, offered the universal symbol of hope, a rainbow, that stretched its spectrum over the crowd and out to the sea. She breathed her last and folded herself into that sky, into the colours closest to joy.Womens-march-e1485034382541

This is what I saw in my head when I read the text. I was in a plush red chair, waiting for my daughter’s dance show to begin. My phone beeped blithely, oblivious and innocent to the fact the notification was one of death. The last time I saw Joy Coghill, she saw me, in Annapurna, a devil of a show. She penned me a note in her intelligent script, thanking me for leaving blood on the floor. It meant more to me than all the people who never bothered to show. She did that. Joy. She gave generously and judiciously, on stage and off. What a vibrant soul.Unknown

In that moment, I repented.

I had been sitting in a pile of my own grump because I was too busy with my daughter’s dance schedule to be part of the Woman’s march. When we finally finished rehearsal and drove out to the suburbs, the organizers of this event charged every mother twenty-five dollars to sit through a performance they’ve already paid handsomely for and seen many times. I was angry that everyone around me was chewing munching slurping nibbling gobbling goodies and wine and there was absolutely nothing for me to purchase at concession that was acceptable for my allergy list and dieting guidelines except water. I was suspicious of the fact that ninety five percent of all the dancers were girls and yet half of the scholarships went to boys. I was peevish about the hip hop being all about guns and bling and crotches for a bunch of kids under twelve who live in Langley. My knees hurt while I watched all the deep squats and front flips that I was no longer capable of. I was miffed that when my kid finally got to the stage, she was stuck in the middle row, behind a robust girl whose curvy body blocked my slender pubescent bopper, and the only time I saw her, she had her mouth wide open, catching flies, while she concentrated entirely on her feet. I was shocked when they announced, “intermission” after two hours, when I thought it was the end of the show.

A I milled around in the lobby, treat-less, I had to admit my dark mood was a symptom of the dread I felt over the recent inauguration.

I was cynical when the lights went down for the second half and they started to play Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah for a lyrical dance piece for a bunch of earnest youth in gold lamme pants.images-2

They started to move liquid smooth and so sincerely.

I repented.

Look, look at our youth. All different ages and sizes and races. Look at them all. Seeking beauty and truth. Hours of discipline, focus, all for the collective effort of creating something beautiful in this world. Look at them stretching their limbs to the sky, invoking David’s chord that pleased the Lord. The blaze of light in the holy and the broken hallelujah. “I did my best, it wasn’t much, I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch…even though it all went wrong I’ll stand before the Lord of Song…” These little earnest people in their golden trousers…believe in hope. believe in change, believe in the power of unity. They synchronize, they share the light, they lift each other in support, the little chubby girl in the back unconsciously mouths the words devout as prayer. And they are…breath-taking.

And out in the night, on the streets of major cities of the world, five million women march, grasping that same hope.

I am undone. My with my bottle of clean water, sitting in the plush red velvet of all my incredible privilege. Me, still STILL learning to be satisfied and grateful for having all I actually need.Unknown-1

I remember the final scenes of Marie Clements’ play, Burning Vision, where she chastises society for saying “sorry sorry sorry” and encourages us, rather, to stop doing sorry-filled things. She leaves us with the next generation to hope for.

In church today, Reverend Gary preached on Christ’s inauguration. His first words were about repenting: starting a new life. We are to leave old ways behind, and become the embodiment of Love in the world. We are to dare to believe in all that’s possible. Sometimes in shiny gold pants.

We are to be the Joy.

 

 

 

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