Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fear into Festival

My oldest daughter just graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Yes, THAT school, where just last month a very disturbed young man killed six people in the adjacent student enclave of Isla Vista.

Over the past four years I have visited several times and by now, I know Isla Vista pretty well. My daughter lives there. When I called her in the early hours of that awful morning, I was relieved to hear her sleepy voice assuring me that she was fine.

I flew out for her graduation last week and again walked the streets of Isla Vista. Impromptu memorials were set up at each of the locations where shooting occurred. To say the experience was surreal and chilling does not adequately describe the feeling.

And yet, there was festival in the air. Graduation week energy swirled around every corner, music played and laughter rang out. Barefoot kids whizzed by on beach cruisers and skateboards. Outdoor tables were filled with families there to celebrate their graduates and help them move their stuff out of funky Pacific front apartments.

In the Gospel of Matthew, the evangelist teaches that the human spirit cannot be overcome even when the body's breath is stilled. Here in Isla Vista, we're still breathing, still singing, still rocking out.

Amen and rock on.