Flashback – Do You Really Mean It?

**This is all about a conversation that I’ve not yet actually been brave enough to have with anyone face to face.

“You really should learn to say no occasionally.”

I hear this ALL the time.  

That comment usually comes after a discussion of my current theatrical involvement and the person making the statement almost always means that I should say no to the theater “stuff” I do.

But what if I took them at their word?  What if I learned to say no to those things that really don’t hit my God-given designs and passions?

Would the person offering advice be okay with it if I said no to playing for the kid’s Christmas program at church?  Or what if I declined to plan/run an elementary school program for the holiday’s?

In the church, there is a tendency to have expectations of others based on what we think they should be doing with their skills and their time.  If they don’t live up to our expectations we shake our heads and talk about “wasting God-given talent.”  As a Pastor’s wife, I have had people refuse to speak to me if they feel I am not doing what I should be.  Apparently, the fact that my husband is on the payroll leads them to believe that they should have some say over how I spend my discretionary time.

Time to speak out clearly – if I HAVE to learn to say no to things, I will NOT be choosing to say no to theatrical involvements.  It is when I am in the throes of a theater production – rehearsing, directing, whatever – that I am the most truly myself.  I get that over-committing can be dangerous to one’s sanity and even one’s physical health.

But never saying yes to the things one is truly passionate about is just as dangerous.  Maybe more so.

So if you tell me that I should learn to say no, I will thank you for your concern and take a look at my schedule to reevaluate the allocation of my time.  Just be ready for me to say “yes” to those things that are right for me, even if you don’t understand!

Happy to Be Tired

Had to take a night off this week.  Just too worn out to continue – dizzy, slightly yucky stomach, low-grade fever . . . the works.  Nice long nap, crash in the recliner reading a book and I felt slightly more capable of functioning.

Why so worn out?

Simple.  I tend to book myself REALLY busy.  And I’m also fighting off a cold or something respiratory.  I’m an empty nester who loves working with kiddos in the performing arts.  Which means that my schedule doesn’t follow “normal” working hours.  I tend to have a chunk of time off in the afternoon and work lots of later afternoons/evenings.

Currently, I find myself with the following performance events in my near future –

– State colorguard competition this Friday in Des Moines (it’s my first year as head coach and I keep triple checking my to do list to make sure everything is ready)

– Community theater production onstage next week – a kiddos Christmas musical!

– Choir concert to accompany (LOVE this part of the year!!)

– Violin recital to accompany

– Christmas Eve service to play for.

And this doesn’t include Christmas shopping or other tasks not related to work.

And I love absolutely all of the chaos.  Yes, I sometimes run myself a little too hard and need to stop for a moment (this week being an example!) but I prefer to think about what I’ve watched happen.

A group of 19 individuals came together as a team, learned two new shows – one for marching season and one for indoor season.  They’ve grown so much since the season started and I love every minute I get to spend with them.  6 of those individuals also choreographed solo pieces and competed at state solo contest.

I’ve watched kiddos step into their first theatrical production ever and work alongside more experienced young performers.  That’s probably my favorite thing about theater – age sometimes doesn’t matter a lick!

I’ve once again had the privilege of accompanying four talented ensembles at the local senior high as they prepare for the Yuletide concert (my favorite concert of the year).  Yeah, high schoolers can get squirrely from time to time but the artistry they create . . . it’s such a joy to be a part of it.

Accompanying violinists is new.  But I’m loving it.  Always had a soft spot for string instruments.  Even played the violin for a short stretch in my childhood.  But the best part is some of the soloists I’m playing for are young.  I mean, elementary school age young.  And it’s going to be such an honor to share that performance moment with them.

Large group speech rehearsals have started and I’m thrilled to once again be working with the musical theater groups as they prepare.
So yeah.  I’m happy to be tired.  It’s the result of hours spent working with young people in the performing arts and I can’t imagine spending my time doing anything else.