Without airing too much personal “stuff” on the web, I have recently – very recently – been reminded of the need for investing in people that are placed in your life if you want them to stay in your life.
Relationships take work. I know, that’s not a revolutionary new thought. But it seems to be something that people forget. Biology or in-law status is only a small piece of what makes people family. Beyond that, there must be communication, conversation, investment and an effort.
I am so grateful and blessed that my two sisters and their husbands make an effort to know my family, to be invested in my life and the lives of my children and are crazy enough to travel 17 hours for a child’s graduation! Added to that, there are other people who have no obligation to care about my family at all but they do. They took the time to get to know me and my kids, they love on us like family and they do not allow matters of distance to get in the way of the relationship.
For all of you who have loved on my family thank you. I am so grateful for the “honorary” family members I have been blessed with over the course of my life!
The Sunday School class I am in has been using the Philip Yancy book “What’s So Amazing About Grace” as our discussion/lesson guide. While I love Yancy’s writing direct, no-punches-pulled writing style, his subject matter is tough to deal with.
Grace goes against our human nature. When we are wronged, everything in us screams for justice. We want the offender to pay and pay big! But when we offend or hurt another, we desperately seek compassion, understanding and justice. For me, the “secret” is a matter of perspective.
Disclaimer – there are times when others hurt us so often and so severely that we must make the wise choice to set boundaries with that particular person. But this isn’t about those moments.
I can be thoughtless and uncaring. My reasons for those behaviors may be valid – tired, sick, overworked, stressed from the demands of work or others, etc. and I sincerely want others to be understanding and gracious with me when I’m having one of “those” days.
But what is my first assumption when someone else treats me in a thoughtless, uncaring manner? Do I assume that they are simply having a bad day and extend them the understanding and grace I want in those moments? I wish I could say an adamant yes. I wish I could tell you that I’m the walking definition of compassion. Truth is, I tend to take it personally. I don’t want to be understanding or caring. I want to make them pay.
My goal is a simple one – to give others the benefit of the doubt, to learn the skill of taking a deep breath and extending grace. It’s not going to be easy and I’m not even really sure what that looks like but I’m going to work on it!
It is nearly midnight and I really should be in bed. In the last five days, I have put in nearly 30 hours of rehearsal with the Fort Dodge Senior High cast of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Since we started the rehearsal process, we have lost nearly 10 hours of rehearsal time to weather issues, conflicts with other major school events, etc. Needless to say, that makes for one very stressed theatrical director. Namely me! (And I have it on good authority that the vocal director – my friend Joe who, as the head of the choral department, is also the executive director – is a bit stressed as well!)
We open next Thursday which is still a little scary. But I am cautiously optimistic. The kids have worked hard to make up for lost time, coming into rehearsal early to clean messy choreography, putting in extra time with the vocal director to create some beautiful music and going back and doing complicated scenes “just one more time” As a result, the show has shown SERIOUS progress in just five days. We’ve still got lots of work to do and I will continue to push them hard. I believe they will rise to the challenge.
But they are already making me proud. There have been moments that made me laugh hard enough to cry. Other actors have given performances so real, so believable that I stopped watching like a director and simply got lost in the magic.
They have put up with the cranky version of me yelling at them to do it again and do it right.
They have made me laugh until I cry.
They have captivated my imagination.
They have given me goosebumps.
They’ve caused me to burst into spontaneous applause during rehearsal.
We have work yet to do. And I’m going to be pushing them to give me more than they think they are capable of.
Am I tired? Yep. Have I lost sleep? Oh yeah. Spent quite a bit of time tossing and turning, trying to figure out how to make up for lost time and give “my kids” the direction they need. Are the vocal director and I stressed? Of course! Have I spent more time in the theater than I have in my home? Almost! But there is no place I would rather be at this time of year than in the countdown to opening night with “my kids”.