Two Roller Coasters
I took my two middle girls snorkeling yesterday. The waves were quite rough and it felt like being on one of those shake-you-up rides at the state fair. It was worth it though -- we saw schools of fish nibbling away at underwater plants, valleys filled with orb-leafed sea plants, and ridges of barnacle covered rocks. Little, yellow striped fish and round ones with a spot on the tail. The girls were enthralled. Naturally. The appreciation of beauty is an awe-inspiring thing. I don't mean appreciating something beautiful inspires me, rather the mere fact that humans can appreciate beauty, that we can look at trees and fish and waves, at clouds in the blue sky or lightning in a cloudy one, and see them as beautiful, and feel the connection to them. It sends shivers down my back and convinces me that the Creator loves beauty. In fact, the appreciation of beauty seems to me to be one of the best arguments for a Creator at all. Of course, there's a mundane explanation -- the endorphin high we feel in the presence of overwhelming beauty no doubt has survival benefit, but still, I like to think of humans and God as similar in that we both appreciate the loveliness of creation.
The other roller coaster... well, it wasn't so pleasant. While we were out snorkeling, someone broke the window of our rental car and stole my purse, including the usual credit cards, checkbook and driver's licence, but also the kids passports and mine, an antique pocket watch, Raheel Raza's book with her treasured inscription, my new cell phone (which is very expensive, but which I got at a really great price and simply could not afford to replace...). At first I thought I had also lost two rings, but it turned out they were in another bag, not my purse. Then, while we were at a local zoo (Lion Country Safari) we got a call from a local police station. Someone had turned in my purse. The credit cards were gone, and my driver's license, the watch and the book (somehow I can't imagine thieves reading Their Jihad... Not My Jihad, but if they do, all the power to them) but the passports and my cell phone were there. Whew! I'm sad to lose the watch, and about the inscribed book (I'm sure I can get a new one from Raheel), but I'm glad to get back my phone and all my coffee cards, gas station cards, library card, etc.
Noora, my baby who isn't really a baby any more, was quite upset at the incident. And it struck me how the somewhat blase attitudes of us adult -- cest la vie -- shows how far evil impinges upon our daily life. Petty theft is a violation of our space, our possessions, and by extension our selves. And yet we shrugged it off. Noora was, justifiably, unhappy and mystified. Why did they do this? All I could offer was that they were people who didn't understand right and wrong properly. In retrospect, I could have told her that maybe they didn't have enough to eat or couldn't get a job. That I didn't think of that at the moment certainly says something about how we are socialized to think about crime and criminals -- they are bad people, rather than they are desperate people.