Egypt Erupts into Jubilation!
Egypt is Free!
These are a small sampling of the headlines tonight, the eve of Egyptian victory against the oppressive rule of Mubarak. Today, all day, we celebrated the crack and crumble of an empire. I watched the celebrations in Cairo and had to catch my breath - it is so deeply compelling to see true joy explode like fireworks.
I sat captivated... because this is what liberation looks like. This is what true jubilee looks like... And what does it feels like? Spontaneous dancing in the streets that days ago were stained with blood and alight with molotov cocktails. Grieving turned into cheering. Flags of freedom waving wildly, like confetti, because joy could not be contained or restrained tonight. When people experience true liberation from the weight of oppression - this is what it looks like. I can feel the vibrations all the way across the sea!
When justice breaks in, when jubilee is made manifest in the face of the empire, there is one response from those freed - exuberant explosions of unfettered joy. It is what I see coming out of Tahrir Square in Egypt, and I am mesmerized.
Tonight I turned on the news (again) and had my children sit and watch. I explained, in simple terms, what the celebration was about. "Mama, it looks like a freedom party" my son observed. Indeed, it is a freedom party tonight. And I wanted my children to see what jubilee looks like so that it would whet their appetite and ignite their imaginations for justice and jubilee in the years to come. I wanted them to see that empires do fall, that darkness does collapse and wild goodness does break out and break the hold of tyrants. I wanted them to witness, with their own eyes, that mountains (like Mubarak) can be moved. Jubilee is possible - see!
Some are expressing a good measure of caution about what comes tomorrow. There is fear about who might emerge from the shadows, who will manipulate or exploit the situation, who might hijack democratic longing. There is always fear. But I am choosing to join the celebration tonight, to participate in that freedom party in Cairo from my couch. I am deciding to delve into jubilee - because it does not come around as often as we hunger for it. I want to inhale deeply, to be intoxicated with jubilation...
We often live in the past - grieving what was and curious about what the shattered status quo and shaken stability will mean. We can live in the future, jumping to the worries and legitimate concerns and challenges of tomorrow. But there is something sacred about today, and living in the present moment. There is a call to be attentive to this moment and honor it. I want to experience this jubilation while it is present. That is my choice.
What does the day after jubilee look like? I don't really know. Tomorrow will show me. It will be my opportunity to respond to that moment with discernment. I am not so naive as to think the freedom party gives way to an easy democracy of my liking tomorrow. Deep change is messy, complicated and precarious. Anything can happen in the days ahead. I will be prayerful and hopeful that justice will, in each day or most days, prevail in Egypt.
Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. But for tonight - I choose jubilee.