Saturday, August 28, 2010

I've Picked Up My Stick

It's been a long time since I've written a blog. In the past 6 months I've been through a dark time and I've been through a time of extreme joy in my family. The dark time, though, was paralyzing and I found I just couldn't write anything personal. I still am not ready to write about it except to say it involved a man who I called a friend and a mentor to my sons who betrayed us so deeply that the wound will be long in healing. He is currently serving a sentence of 150 years (yes, 150) for child molestation.
I just have not been able to write here. I set aside my blog and my book. I wrote other stuff - camp skits, the adaptation of the Summer Theater Festival show script, The Emperor's New Clothes, the narration for our summer Ambassador's show, "Let Freedom Ring". I love to write but all those things were not personal. That writing was fun and silly and creative.
And even though I have had some wondrous, miraculous things happen that deserve to be shared, I haven't been able to write. Even though I have walked through amazing family events like the high school graduation of my son, Isaac and the storybook-perfect wedding of my son, Jordan, to the beautiful, Georgia Anne Huckabee, I just have not been able to sit down and put my feelings, emotions and thoughts into words.
I told a friend of mine that I feel like I've had this soggy wet, wool blanket laying on top of me: Heavy, cumbersome. Hard to breathe, hard to move, hard to think clearly. Now, one of the last things I want to have happen is for you to feel sorry for me or, conversely chide me for letting life get to me. It is what it is. But over the past 24 hours two things happened, two things that were seemingly unconnected.
First, last night I was checking my email account for mail that is exclusively for CAT business (Christian Arts and Theatre) and there was an email from someone I didn't know. He introduced himself and told me about a blog/review for a show we did to close out our annual summer festival. He thought I should see it so I wouldn't be blindsided if one of the cast members or patrons should stumble on to it. It was a really nice thing for this stranger to do for me. I thought, first, it was odd for a review to posted AFTER the show was closed. What would be the point of that? The review is terrible, written by someone I do not know. The guy hated our show but it went way beyond that. Before he even got to the review he mocked us for being Christian Arts and Theatre yet doing "Christ-less" shows. He accused us of hiding the fact that we were not politically correct as a Christian arts organization by using our "cute acronym, CAT" and criticized our youth education program about which he clearly knew nothing. The review is crushing and, strangely, very personal. He stepped way beyond the boundaries of a normal theater review to personally attack both me and other cast members. Weird. It felt like a personal vendetta. As I said, I don't know this person and don't understand his agenda. I have a saying at CAT that every child and every parent knows: "There's always another show." If you don't get cast in this show, there's always another show around the bend. If you don't do your best in this show, there's always another chance to do better. My point is that we don't really linger long after a show closes - we move on and get ready for the next one. The friendships and memories remain, of course, but ... there's always another show. I share this because all of us in the reviewed show have already moved on. It didn't really matter as far as this reviewer was concerned. His review was published after the fact (thankfully) but that just makes it seem petty and mean spirited. Still, it really hurt my feelings. All the standing ovations, applause, well wishes, notes of congratulations dimmed behind the crushing words of this man. Quoting from the movie, Pretty Woman, "It's easier to believe the bad stuff". I had a hard time sleeping last night: Second guessing, trying to wrap my mind around what he said about our director and our cast - and his special attention to me and another relative of mine in the cast. Boy, he really had his venomous fangs out.
Then the second thing happened this morning. Today, August 28, 2010, was the Restore Honor event in Washington DC. It was conceived and hosted by talk show host, Glenn Beck and held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Well over half a million people (maybe as many as a million) lined the steps, stretched down both sides of the Reflecting pool and stretched beyond the Washington Memorial. Not a political sign in sight. The whole event passed without a single mention of political agenda. The WHOLE 3 1/2 hours (which I watched, riveted, on C-SPAN) was dedicated to honoring our country, the military men and women who serve and have served and the God who has guided us through the past 240 years. The fact that our country is at a crossroads was reiterated over and over: A moral crossroads. The name of Jesus was spoken over and over: A call to humble ourselves and return to our faith. A call to lift our nation up to God, asking for forgiveness and seeking to renew the precepts that our country was founded upon. Men and women of all colors, faith and economic situations were there but it was definitely a call to Christ. It was amazing to hear numerous calls for to us to come to Christ, seek his salvation from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Awards of Merit were given for Faith (a black pastor form Houston Texas), Hope (baseball player, Albert Pujols) and Charity (Jon Huntsman, a billionaire from Utah who has given multi-millions to charity). Stories of incredible military heroism were shared (with the opportunity to thank the ones who's stories were told as they came forward on the stage) Praises were sung. Prayers were raised. And the call was given to DO SOMETHING. Be the one who picks up the proverbial "stick" (referencing Moses) and do something. It was incredibly energizing and thrilling.
As I was sitting on my couch, cat stretched across my lap, tea cup in my hand, I felt this stirring in my heart that I haven't had for months. WRITE THIS DOWN.
And a connection was made. This man who wrote the hateful review doesn't know me or my heart or my motivation for doing what we do at CAT. But, it would be so easy to let him derail us, let his words and opinion suck the joy, the purpose of CAT out of me. Its not easy to keep this organization going. It's never been easy. The connection came, though, in watching this rally today. In my own very tiny, insignificant way, I have picked up the stick! I am doing something that has value and worth for our community and so have all the CAT staff, CAT board members, parent volunteers and donors.
If I do what I do for personal gain or recognition, I would be devastated by the review/blog. I would feel like a total failure and I, likely, would never ever want to step on to the stage again or think I could direct. That's not why I do it. It's a calling I can not deny. Its a gift from the Lord that wholly belongs to him and is in existence for his glory. I'm such a human. I make mistakes (daily), make wrong choices, get discouraged, stumble. I look up to the heavens and ask (out loud, a lot),"When is this going to get easier? When will CAT have enough money to meet all our obligations, when are we going to have enough students or patrons? When....? why...? how...? what....?"
You know what I learned today? God said to me, "All I ask you to do, Cyndi, is just pick the stick and I will do the rest. Trust me."
Easier said than done. But it feels so good to feel so good. The ice around my frozen heart is melting. The words are flowing again. There's a passel of backed-up blogs in my head still but this will suffice for now.
Thanks for your patience. Please pray for me. I mean it. Please pray for me and this organization every day. And if you are so inclined, there's stack of sticks just waiting to be picked up.