Finding Home Through Performance

The thing about performing, is that it’s intense, and hard, and requires you to use parts of yourself that you don’t always use on a daily basis. It requires dedication and passion and in the midst of it, you form friendships and bonds. Mostly because you are all together for hours on end preparing a show, but also because you have the time to really get to know the hearts of the people you perform with.

I used to perform all the time, and I really used to think that it was what I wanted to do professionally. (I mean, I kinda would still love to, but I think that ship may have sailed.)

But until this show, I had not performed in years. I left that part of myself when I found out I was pregnant, and was so lost in a world of baby and depression that I forgot a small bit of who I was.

After 18 shows and over 20,000 people coming to see all of our performances, we closed on Sunday night. I have been away from the blogging world because, quite frankly, I am exhausted.

But exhausted in a good way. In the way where you feel accomplished. In the way when you feel fulfilled.

This performance experience was especially a blessing. It was through a church. Every year they write their own script and compose their own music to put together a Broadway style Christmas production, complete with high tech lighting and effects, mics and set design, dancing, singing, acting, and even a live camel, flying angels, and a real baby Jesus.

Usually, performance, although fun and rewarding, can be very competitive and harsh. This world of performance was very nurturing  It was a world where everyone mattered and lifted you up at every turn. It was refreshing and inspiring and I know I have filled this blog with performance stories, but the truth is, this performance saved me.

I have been floundering for a long time, really ever since the birth of my son. Writing this blog has helped bring me back to myself.  Being able to perform again reminded me that there is life after children, and that I am still who I always was. Funny, I needed 3 years and a lead in a show to convince myself of that.

So, on the last day of the show, at our cast meeting the director asked if anyone would like to speak. I stood up and addressed the 200 person cast with this,

“In September, I was just a girl, who came to an audition with red high heels. Then I became lucky enough to get a part in this show. I have heard so many stories about the ministry that we want this show to be to the audience, but I want you all to know what a ministry it has been to me. The kindness and generosity of all the people I have met here has been amazing and I have been truly honored to be a part of it. And now, for the first time in a long time, I have a church home. That would not have been possible without GCN. So I just want to thank all of you for that.”

This nurturing environment lifted me with applause and their tears met my own as I ruined my stage makeup with tears rolling down my face.

Because you see, to finally find a home and pieces of yourself, can be very very emotional.



Familiar Roles

This feels familiar, as though I’m tracing my footsteps, falling back into a place I’ve known in the past but haven’t visited in a while.

I have become rusty at being in the real world, because as  time passed and seasons changed, my son and I have been creating our own.

It has been a dance of intensity and beauty and I know that we are still only at the beginning.

But the separation is slowly happening. I know we are both finally ready.

As my son expands his world into preschool and friends and independent play, I dust off my “grown up shoes” and try to remember how to walk in them.

This year, I am the Parent Council Chair at my son’s preschool. And my goodness gracious, to those of you that told me to run away when this was offered to me last spring, I owe you a big apology because I really should’ve listened. This job is more of an undertaking than I realized. I had told myself I would not get caught up in it, but as I become more involved and aware of the behind-the-scene action at the school, the more I want to be a part of it. I may be new and I may not want to spend the next year of my life stressed out with this work, but I think I really have a chance to make a difference here. I think this position was put in my path for a reason, and as much work as it is going to be, I also think it’s a blessing. I have done leadership roles before; I have played this part of organizer, brainstormer, care-a-little-too-mucher. I know I can do it again.

I also took a chance this year. A chance I have not dared to take in a long time. I auditioned for a big Christmas production put on by a local church. Most churches do Christmas productions, but apparently this production runs like a Broadway musical. It is an original script each year and the story is told through song, dance, and theater drama. Over 200 people auditioned. Auditions involved dance, vocal, and dramatic. Only 50 people were invited to call backs and 6 women were being considered for the female lead. So here is my big news: I got the lead! Performance used to be a huge part of my life, but I have not performed since 2008, right before I found out I was pregnant.  My skills are a bit rusty, but I am oh-so-ready to bring performance back into my life. There will be costumes, there will be lights, there will be make-up, there will be me trying to learn choreography and lines…and there will be that little piece of my soul that gets fulfilled by being on stage.

I am not sure how all of these pieces will fit back together as I balance motherhood with bits of my previous self, but I know that they will. I am also fighting my own guilt with the fact that I have chosen these roles rather than choosing to return to work. I try to get my Parent Council work done while Noah is in school and all show rehearsals will be at night. These two new roles, though not paid, will still allow me a lot of time with my son. For now, I have decided to feed my soul rather than my bank account.

So as I re-introduce myself to the world of paperwork and pull my dance shoes out of the back of the closet, I also prepare for the beginning of what’s next and pray for guidance into this next round of “new normal.”

(If you will be in the Richmond area around Christmas and are at all interested in attending these performances, you can visit this site for more details.