Have We Lost Our Way?

dollywoodToday I visited that bastion of multiple sensory overload, the American amusement park. While I was at Dollywood (with probably 20,000+ other people), I started comparing and contrasting four distinct experiences that I had, all within a few hours of each other. Let’s see how they stack up:

Experience 1: Mystery Mine

Cost to Dollywood: 11 million dollarsdollywood mystery mine

Popularity: thousands of people waiting up to an hour to get in

Duration: 2 minutes 30 seconds

Technology: latest engineering and computer controls

What my soul got: zilch

Experience 2: Rhythm of the Dance

Cost to Dollywood: probably six figures to book them for five weeks at 3 shows a daydollywood rhythm of the dance

Popularity: thousands of people waiting up to an hour to get in

Duration: 50 minutes

Technology: giant video screen, elaborate computer controlled lighting system

What my soul got: The most moving performance was a beautiful duet of a man on bodhran and a female step dancer. By the way, the audience didn’t seem to mind the pulsating synchronized lights and giant video screen not being used during their number.

Experience 3: Fire in the Kitchen

Cost to Dollywood: a lot less than Rhythm of the Dance!fire in the kitchen

Popularity: a few dozen people wandered in to see them

Duration: 30 minutes

Technology: didn’t need any

What my soul got: live performance of Celtic music only a few feet away from me which had people smiling, nodding. Peace and joy.

Experience 4: Bodhran Drum Lesson

Cost to Dollywood: probably zero, the lesson was from a distributor for Waltons that had a booth at Dollywoodbodhran

Popularity: about eight people, there were empty chairs around while thousands of others were milling past

Duration: 20 minutes

Technology: 17th century style: goatskin over wood frame

What my soul got: a few minutes to pick up an instrument and learn to make music in a way I never had before, using movements and rhythms that stretched over centuries and across an ocean.

Have we lost our way in our culture? I don’t know how to make it any clearer. There’s nothing inherently wrong with multimillion dollar ways to experience g-forces or dazzling lighting effects, but have we forgotten that we have souls to nurture? Think about the nurture of your soul in your choices this week.

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