May 22, 2020

“Toto, I have a feeling we aren’t in Kansas anymore.” (Dorothy to Toto in The Wizard of Oz). When Rod and I first moved to Hawaii, we would encounter something totally new, and one of us would quote Dorothy. The first time we drove up the Haleakala Highway from Kahului, passing field upon field of green plants waving in the breeze of the Trade Winds, and realized it wasn’t corn or wheat, but sugar cane, we uttered it.

I think I was the only child who didn’t enjoy The Wizard of Oz or Mary Poppins. Truth be told, I was bothered when the scenes shifted from one reality to an alternative reality.  I didn’t like the sense of reality shifting underneath me. Mary Poppins was the worst, because of the use of cartoon characters integrated into the real, live people on screen.

I’ve had that feeling often in the past 3 months, in so many ways. It’s the same gas pump, but with prices unseen in decades. It’s the same grocery store, only half the people wear masks. It’s the same community, only home has become an office, a classroom, or an isolation ward for lonely, vulnerable people. It’s the same children on my walk, but I politely refuse their request to come to my side of the road to pet Kiko. 

At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy had a better appreciation of her home, her family, and the people in her community. Mary Poppins’ incursions into the family changed them forever in good ways. Dorothy had a longing that somewhere over the rainbow, there was a better place. In the end, her journey into the new reality brought her back home, wiser, kinder, more loving and accepting than before. 

The narrative in the Bible takes some twists and turns as well. There are giants, angels, fires, floods, pestilence and disease, just off the top of my head. But it begins well, ends well, and there are moments of shining grace and goodness in between.

I have a hard time imagining the months ahead.  Or perhaps it isn’t a lack of imagination I have, as much as a lack of will to imagine the months ahead if they are radically different than what was. But then, like Dorothy, I have a little flash of radical and tenacious faith (mine is based not on a place over the rainbow, but in the God whose covenant was marked by a rainbow) that this, too, will bring us back to who we really are. In the meanwhile, click on the link below to see my all-time favorite rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World performed by Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole, who would have turned 61 last Wednesday. (Please fast forward through the ads) IZ, you died way too young!

With aloha ~ Anne

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