STICKS & STONES & GREASEPAINT
For me, working in the theatre is almost the same as being involved with a church congregation: it’s a bunch of diverse people getting together with a variety of talents and gifts, and one single purpose. Through the process of designing, planning, rehearsing, building, sewing, and creating, actors “bond” with one another and a new community is formed. That’s one of the main reasons I love it, and have for most of my adult life.
Theatre also feeds the process of teaching, through observing human nature. Like I always say, God will speak to you in whatever way you’ll listen. The theatre, and people involved, have (knowingly and unknowingly) taught me a lot about God, about life, and about love.
I’m currently rehearsing a show, and current situations in rehearsal remind me of situations I’ve had before. One example, one “epiphany”, recently presented itself to me. Often, in theatre where volunteers are involved (people with lives outside of the theatre) someone will need to miss a rehearsal and someone else will need to fill in that night. In one rehearsal I attended, the striking, tall, blonde leading lady with the golden voice was absent and the Assistant Director to the show was obliged to step in, script-in-hand, and sub for her. The leading lady had a few love scenes, a couple of beautiful songs, and a dance – and the script consistently spoke of her character’s beauty, especially with the line, “She’s an elegant strain of music in the moonlight…with blonde hair”. Now, the Assistant Director was a round, 55-ish man, balding with a huge mustache and beard…his “uniform” was sweatshirt and jeans. And no one would want to hear him sing.
During one moment in the rehearsal, one of the actors, in character and speaking with his impeccable British accent, turned to him and said, “You’re the ugliest strain of music in the moonlight with blonde hair I’ve ever seen!” EVERYONE, including the Assistant Director, laughed. No one was hurt or offended.
I catalogued the moment.
Everyone laughed. HE laughed. Why? Because it was obvious to everyone, including the Assistant Director in question, that he was neither a woman, tall, blonde, or exactly “beautiful”. He wasn’t hurt. Far from it – HE thought it was hilarious. Everyone enjoyed the joke. The Assistant Director thought it was funny because he KNEW he wasn’t an “elegant strain of music in the moonlight, with blonde hair.”
Instead, he KNEW who he was.
In my lifetime I’ve been hit with some ugly and ignorant words. We’ve all heard the “sticks and stones” phrase, even though experience tells us words are powerful, with a power to be used for good or bad. So how do we protect ourselves against words that hurt, opinions about us that are untrue? Do we fight back? No.
We have to know who we are. If someone told me I was an ugly tall blonde woman I’m not sure I would be angry, because the accusation is so ridiculous. I know I’m not tall, blonde, or female. They couldn’t hurt me with that “instult” because it is so far from who I actually am that it’s silly.
So, why are we hurt when someone says something unkind to us or about us that is clearly not true? I believe there are a couple of reasons:
1. We are too concerned about what other people think about us, and
2. We are insecure in ourselves about who we really are and think we need validation from others, to be spectacular.
When a person decides God is who He says He is, and they realize that Jesus is His Son, and God-in-the-Flesh – and decide to follow Him, they become who HE says they are. And God calls us His children. This is the same God who spoke the word “light” and there was light. When He speaks it…it is so. He thinks you’re the most spectacular bit of stardust He has breathed life into – that it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Others don’t have the final say about your life, and neither do they sit on the throne of the universe.
But what about the loudest voice of all, your own? The scripture assumes that we all love ourselves, sometimes. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Assumes you love yourself. We all know that isn’t always the case. We are our own worst enemies when it comes to believing in our own significance. What is the answer?
Go back to point one; God decides your worth…but He also inhabits your very soul, because it is worthy of Him. Or at least HE believes so.
When I know who I am and where my “significance” comes from, there isn’t a word anyone can say to penetrate that armor of love and truth. Of course, we need to be honest about our abilities and inabilities, not think TOO highly of ourselves, and not compare ourselves with others. We have to be able to accept unconditional (which actually means, “unconditional”) love. And we need to continually, continually, practice life within those parameters – it TAKES practice, it won’t happen all at once.
I thank both the theatre and the church for helping me grow my imagination, share my talents, and for speaking God’s Truth to me…in the language(s) I hear. With that God-given imagination, and in a very “theatrical” way, I see Jesus at the bottom of that hill in Israel called “Mount of the Beatitudes”. In a moment He looks up at me; one lost man in the sea of thousands on the hill that day, and says, “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.”…
…and I realize, sometimes God has more faith in me than I do in Him.
Be well, go shine, remember who you are.
And don’t let anyone who’s opinion doesn’t matter hurt you anymore.