Sunday, December 16, 2012

Surrealism and Reality

Photo: Snow on the mountains in Palm Springs. 

Surreal: having the disorienting, hallucinatory quality of a dream; unreal; fantastic.

 This is not the first time I've noticed the surreal quality of our life. 9/11 2001, that was the first time it hit me. We watched the horror going on in New York then we would take a break in the back yard. The serenity of our beautiful yard, our quiet sanctuary from the world, was in such sharp contrast to what was going on New York--it was surreal.

 The same thing has hit me several times since 9/11, but Friday was certainly one of those days. Wednesday we laughed through La Cage aux Folles, Thursday we went to Andy's to enjoy the Windy City Allstars playing their upbeat dixieland as only those pros can. Friday we were charmed by Hansel & Gretel at the Lyric. After the performance they came out and expressed sympathy for all the people affected by the tragedy that had happened that day, the very day we were enjoying the opera. A woman sitting in front of us told us that 20 children in grammar school had been shot along with six of their teachers.

 And suddenly there we were, caught in one of those surreal moments.

 We enjoyed our dinner at the Lyric's Bistro, avoiding the subject for the most part. We knew we'd deal with it when we got home. We watched for hours, cried, tried to figure out why anyone would do such a horrendous thing. And marveled at how surreal it was that we were in this lovely world while this horror was taking place in so many people's lives.

 The truth is that neither is surreal, they are both real. The world of nightmarish horror lives side-by-side with the serenity of lives lived quietly under the radar. It is all real. That is what makes it so hard to understand. How can it be that the world is both horrific and beautiful? I have no answers.

 Enjoy every day--that's the only thing I've managed to come up with that gets me through. It doesn't contain any answers or comfort, but it is the best advice I can give myself. We never know what will happen in the next moment of our lives, so we should enjoy everything we can and savor it. It is all we have.

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