I don’t like roller coasters. I don’t like roller coasters so much that I close my eyes during that movie theater video game-like promo, urging me to go buy pop and popcorn. (“Is it over yet?”)
But I’ve been on one the last few weeks, and I have to admit I don’t like it in real life, either. There have been a lot of wonderful moments lately: I got to be part of a wonderful cohort with ELI talks. I gave my 12-minute talk, it went well, and I met some astounding new friends, who have important things to say about the Jewish community. (This round of talks will be up later this summer; keep checking the website.)
I opened in a new show, and there’s no happy place like my theater happy place. The show, “Cabaret” was powerful and relevant, and my part was challenging and meaningful. I met new, wonderful, talented people. And if ever there was a time to hear its message of the danger of intolerance and hate, and to heed the warning of waking up too late, it’s now. Oops – here we go, sliding to the down-side of the roller coaster. I hold my breath.
I knew the show was going to close on Sunday afternoon, and I was ready for the slow decline on the roller coaster. But then there were the pre-dawn hours of Sunday, in Orlando. The roller coaster took a drastic, stomach-turning dive. We still had to go onstage, which brought the car up a bit – we were saying important things about apathy toward hate, and the audience felt it. The show closed, which took me a little further on down the roller coaster, nothing drastic, and expected, of course. Then, after our last matinee, the cast and crew watched the Tony Awards together, which took the car up to the sky again. And then….the details started coming out more and more about Orlando. The roller coaster car hurtled toward the ground, leaving my heart out of my body, and taking away my breath.
But rather than waiting until the grieving and sorrow recedes, I want my roller coaster car to start climbing again. Not to the top, I can’t get there yet. But I need to get moving, letting the grief and anger spur me on to act, speak out, raise my voice and scream, “Enough!”
I really don’t like roller coasters.