I have just been through a wonderful experience that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around and putting into words, but I will do my best for you all.
As someone who is friendly but perhaps does not make friends easily, I entered into a play production, a musical, with a local community theater group back in September. Well…to be honest, I did it because I dared my best friend, Shelley, to do so, with the promise if SHE tried out, I would too, NEVER believing she actually would do it. She is the calm to my crazy, after all, and that was just a little out of character.
However, those who know us best love us most, don’t they? And she knew this would not only be fun, but good for my family. So there I was, on a business trip in Salt Lake City, when she rings me up on the phone.
“Hey Heather, I just finished my try outs for that musical at the Lake Benton Opera House…you know, the Christmas one? I talked to the director, and he can meet with you when you get back since it will be after the try out dates.”
Drop. The. Phone. Lady.
You did whaaaaaaat?????
Yeah, talk about anxiety.
You see, 3 years ago approximately, I had decided that some of the things I loved to do, lived to do really, just needed to be shelved away. One of those was singing. It has driven my husband to distraction, because he felt like for me to give up my ability and gifting to sing, after a very difficult trial that involved it, meant that I would never be fully happy.
In all my stubborn, pigheaded Irish-Scotness, I decided I was going to prove him wrong.
I learned to live with it, and involve myself in other things, but he was right….it was a big piece of my life that has been missing for far too long….a silent heartbreak I carried with me for years.
But you see, to me, singing is very personal. It is pouring your heart and your soul into something and letting the world see those things. I had been very bruised and broken over what had happened, and just could not bring myself to the point where I could share those things with the world again.
And who knows you better than your best friend?
Anyhow, so I flew home, tried out, and next thing I knew, I was wearing a doily on my head. For real, see?
Because I was given the role of Mrs. Cratchit.
Now to be honest, that role was most familiar to me as played by Ms. Piggy (honest confession here, people, after all I have 6 year old twins, right?)…so I knew if I was going to pull it off I had better dig in and do the research.
But then came the practice…and the realization that Mrs. Cratchit sang.
Someone. Shoot. Me.
I went home and desperately tried to think of a way to call up my friend and convince her I just couldn’t do it. That I wasn’t ready. That I just didn’t want to. But I knew, could actually HEAR HER saying her gentle, sweet response to everything in my head, with her common sense and sweet spirit, and knew I was stuck.
What a place to be.
Plus, do you have ANY IDEA how long it takes to put hair this long into ringlets every night?
48 minutes. You’re welcome.
Anyhow, fast forward to our first performance, and as I am standing in the wings waiting for things to start, I catch the smile and wave of a new friend across in the wings on the other side. With a big grin and a thumbs up, she communicated to me how excited she was….and it was like someone hit me with a brick.
That was me. 3 years ago that would have been me.
Filled with hope and joy, confident that nothing, ANYTHING would ever grab me so hard and so tight, and so fast to squeeze the hope and joy right out of me.
Filled with a confidence that I was CREATED to do what I was doing…that to sing was to breathe, and to encourage others was a part of that.
That I had allowed another person to ever steal that joy, that confidence, and that hope, was exactly what I had been called to counsel hundreds of other people against for the last 21 years of my life.
It hit me so hard I actually caught my breath.
Then I looked across the wings again, and saw other friends, new friends, all costumed up and excited and it broke over me….this was part of who I am. It is part of what I should be doing. Not running from it. Embracing it. My husband, in all his latent wisdom and terrible delivery, was right. (You read that, Handy Hubby, right?)
And from that second on, I determined to never let someone steal my joy again.
Long story short, you all, we maxed out the Opera House on the last night. Our sweet, poignant, Christmas tale of a man so caught up in pinching pennies that he missed everything of true worth just grabbed the hearts and minds of everyone who came to hear us.Â Our reviews were awesome, and the cast was, by the end, very close.
And that is where my title comes from.
Silver and Gold to me is friends. Not money. Silver friends are the new ones, and Gold are the old ones. I am so SO blessed that God used a dear, old friend to show me the way He wanted me to walk in life, and then brought new ones along to encourage me, stand beside me, and share their joy with me.
All of us need friends like that in life, don’t we?
So as we near the holiday of Thanksgiving, may we remember that sometimes holding ourselves back from the things we were meant to do does nothing but rob us of joy, and an opportunity to share the light of the world with those around us. It keeps us from making new friends who will pour into our lives if we just open up the door and let them in for a cup of coffee. It keeps us from being WHO we were meant to be.
So if you are in that place today…if you have been hurt to the point that you think you can never do ___________ again, hear me out. Remember how much joy that brought you. God created you to do that. Step forward in faith, and get back out where you can open up and love others with that gifting again. Choose to live life in faith, not fear.
And let us know how we can pray for you.
Blessings to you and yours,
from the script and my favorite song we sang:
“Let the stars in the sky
Remind us of man’s compassion
Let us love till we die and
God Bless us everyone
In your heart there’s a light
As bright as a star in heaven
Let it shine through the night and
God bless us everyone
Till each child is fed,
Till all men are free
Till the world becomes a family
Star by star in the sky and
Kindness by human kindness
Light this world with your love and
God bless us everyone.
God bless us everyone.”
photo credit for quite a few of these goes to our Director, Mark Wilmes, who was always snapping away and capturing the amazing moments as this 8 week commitment unfolded…