Friday, October 2, 2015

Raise the Light

If I'm being totally honest with myself, I'm three talents short of being a triple threat.

I can only barely act. I can carry a tune in a bucket but not much beyond that.

My dancing skills are 100% appalling. It's as if I'm made of wood and my joints are fused together. I wish I was exaggerating.

So, compared to your average Broadway star, I'm a zero threat. Compared to your computer programmer or school librarian, I'm lucky to be considered half a talent short of a double threat.

It's a shame.

Because I take care of business which is a talent that is lacking in a lot of artists. And I love the creative process. I love rehearsing. Over and over and over again until I get it as close to right as my limited talent will take me.

I used to think I would shrivel up and die if I couldn't perform--or, at the very least, be a part of the creative team. Life has proven that to be an incorrect hypothesis. God has given me other passions.

Still, I love the opportunity to watch live theatre, attend a concert, read a brilliant piece of poetry, or watch a dancer's body float fluidly across a stage. To me, in the loosest of definitions, art is the communication of the human experience through various mediums. I love to watch as someone else does something really bold or reinterprets a piece in a way I never would have imagined. I love, even more, watching an audience respond and, feeling in my own self, the awakening or recognition or cathartic revelation of something new or, at least, something shared.

I'd already seen Idina Menzel sing Radiohead's Creep so I knew what to expect. What I wasn't expecting was the audience's reaction. As she sang about wanting to be someone she's not, wanting what she doesn't have, being weird, lights began to flicker on.

There are so many reasons people fire up their lighters or, this day and age, their cell phone flashlights. Some say it's to pay tribute to a favorite song. Others say it acknowledges that the performer has been through something difficult. Still others say it's to recognize that the song is touching their soul.

I think it's all of the above. And I think it's a way to say, "See this light? I'm holding it and it's the only way I can think to connect with you and say, 'I get where you're coming from. This song is speaking to me, too.'"

She posted a picture last night on Instagram with the caption, "Sea of lights during #creep made me so emotional. Felt like a rock star thank you Utah. Thank you #radiohead.

This is just one angle. The lights wrapped around the venue. "I want a perfect body." "I want a perfect soul." "I wish I was special." "I don't belong here."

It was an incredible moment. Knowing that regardless of location, status, or fame, we all feel like a mess some days. From last October to this one, my life has been filled with incredible highs and the lowest of lows. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I just keep breathing in and out. But there are days when, even though I know I am loved and redeemed by an Almighty King, I wish things were different. There are days when my heart is broken and I feel like a girl, sitting raw and exposed on a stage, being watched and evaluated and judged. Sometimes, the only thing getting me through it all is the fact that so many lights are raised in support. Each of those lights represents the joys, pains, and journeys of a bunch of weirdos who all wish we were special. 

When I remember all that, I find joy even in the midst of the trial.

We turn on our lights. We turn them on and we say, "I see your cancer. I see your divorce. I see your loss, your fear, your unrealized dreams. I see that you don't always--or ever--feel special. And while I may not walk your particular path, I understand the journey."

This is why I chose to study theatre. I'm not the most talented, that's for certain, but I longed to get just a little tighter grasp on the human experience. And, in some limited way, I think I got it. May I always remember to raise my light so that I can really see you.

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