It's been quite a day, one that began with an interesting church service this morning. Normally I'd complain about a service that turns into a political forum, but not this time. I'm used to Unitarian Universalist services in the Pacific Northwest - Oregon and Washington - as well as Southern California. Those places are already quite politically liberal in many ways, and so it wasn't necessary to fight so much for things that were already well understood, if not always accepted, such as recycling, the health hazards of coal-powered power plants, nuclear power plants, health care concerns, issues about bisexuals, gays, lesbians, and transgendered people (BGLT), etc. Here, in the only completely red state in the union, it's a constant uphill battle. It will be impossible to not become more politically active.
After a very brisk (read: colder than h---) walk home, I grabbed some lunch, read email, changed my shoes, and headed over to the Community Center for a performance of "Carmina Burana." I love living so close to downtown as it's possible to walk almost everywhere. The Community Center is down an alley, diagonally through a park, then across the street - a five-minute walk. No parking problems or traffic plus some needed exercise. I met a couple of friends from church and we sat together, getting to know each other better.
Although I've listened to the CD of the program, hearing it live was absolutely wonderful. especially the first and last parts, "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi" (Fortune, Empress of the World.") The heavy bass drum and loud gong playing together made the whole thing an amazing experience. Performers were the Bartlesville Children's Choir, Tulsa Children's Choruses, Tulsa Youth Chorale, Signature Symphony Chorale, Tulsa Community College Choir, and members of the Signature Symphony, all conducted beautifully by Susan Mueller. It was the first time I'd been to any kind of performance in the Community Center and people were right: the acoustics were outstanding. The standing ovation was well deserved, not just a polite gesture. I'm looking forward to seeing the ballet "Coppelia" in a few weeks as well as the traveling, "Jesus Christ, Superstar."
After a short walk home (I probably could have spread my arms and flown the wind was so strong), I reserved the DVD, "Slumdog Millionaire" through RedBox, and drove over to Wal-Mart to pick it up. Needing some gas, I bought a $20 gift card at Walmart and used it at their pumps to receive a three-cent per gallon discount. Something to remember for the future.
I heated up some soup for dinner, sliced some of the whole wheat bread I made yesterday, and settled down in the living room to watch "60 Minutes." The main story concerned University Medical Center, the county hospital in Las Vegas, which recently closed its outpatient oncology services for lack of funds CBS Network Release It was a chilling report highlighting the terrible state of health care in the country and how the lives of the uninsured are at definite risk.
Finally, I sat down on the floor in front of the TV to watch "Slumdog Millionaire" because some of the important on-screen subtitles were just too small to read from anywhere else. Seeing this film about the lives of the very poor in India immediately after the "60 Minutes" report reinforced my "bleeding heart liberal" status. It is impossible to ignore the ways of life of the "slumdogs" in India, just as it's impossible to look away from the plight of the uninsured and poor with cancer in Las Vegas. As one who was finally able to obtain minimal health insurance after three years without it, I'm too well acquainted with the feelings of "what if something happens," and the thoughts about moving to Canada. And I don't have cancer or two young children to care for.
The day could have been a downer in a few ways. However, the uplifting music earlier in the afternoon provided a feeling of hope. The church service this morning helped me realize there are people here working their hardest to provide "justice, equity, and compassion in human relations," one of our Unitarian Universalist Principles. I'm now able to be counted among them.