Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The apple of discord

Do you know the story of Sleeping Beauty?  It all began when someone was left out.  The 13th Fairy, in the non-Disney versions, was not invited to the party celebrating the birth of a princess because the family had only 12 gold plates.  Offended beyond belief, the 13th Fairy cursed the princess for her parents' breech of etiquette.  Another, older tale follows a similar pattern, and it's one that is strangely appropriate for my life right now. It's the story of the apple of discord, which I'd forgotten about until I was watching a dumb t.v. show that made use of the myth.

Eris, the goddess of strife, tossed the shining, golden apple of discord into the wedding feast of Peleus and Thetis. Why you ask, because nobody wanted Strife at a wedding, and so they left her out. In the story it was engraved with the words "to the fairest", and it sparked an epic vanity filled argument between the goddesses Aphrodite, Hera, and Athena. This argument caused the Trojan War when Paris picked Aphrodite after being bribed. The bribe was Helen, wife of Menelaus, who was also the world's most beautiful woman. Menelaus, was not happy to have his wife stolen away, and so he gathered up his friends and waged war against Troy, the homeland of Paris.

I know, at this point, you're waiting for me to make one, and I promise I will but not right here.  My part of this story needs a little explaining.

I'm still volunteering with PTA, and now, my dear husband has taken on the big, crazy job of president.  We're still holding an auction this year, and to my dismay, it's still an event that excludes some of our families.  As someone who has, some years, been unable to afford to go to this event, I feel awful about leaving many families out of any event, no matter how much money it raises. It's not a good feeling to be excluded on purpose, and I don't think that it helps build community or advocates for children, which are our stated purposes as an organization.  The auction has become, in my mind, the apple of discord. It eats up huge amounts of time, it stirs up conflicts of personalities, and it brings out all sorts of ugliness. Every damn year!

I'm stepping back from the situation. I'm trying to gather my thoughts, ease my hurt feelings, and find a path forward, but I feel these two tales rattling around in my brain trying to remind me that inclusion is always a better tactic when trying to build community than excluding people ever will be. I'm also trying to force myself to not give up trying to make my little corner of the world a better place. It's not easy when you feel like things are getting ugly and out of control. It's even harder to do when money is put above people.

Hopefully, in the next few days, things will calm down. I'm lighting a candle and asking for some help from some wise and patient beings.  I'm hoping that I can summon up a little more empathy and compassion for myself and for everyone around me in order to make a case for letting everyone come to all the parties, so that we're never visited by Eris or the bad fairy.

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