Saturday, January 26, 2013

May I Grant You My Friendship?

 I have been a part of casting dozens of shows at  CAT, my theater company. And most everyone who has auditioned for me knows what I say when you don't get cast in the show or don't get the part you were hoping for (Say it with me): "There's always another show".  Hope springs eternal at CAT because there really is always another show to set your sights on should things not go as you had hoped in the current one.

That leads to me an almost entirely different subject but I  promise the segue will almost work if I can explain myself. I must be honest, I've started off badly but here goes.

Ever since I was a young girl I have wanted to visit England.  I love the geography - such a beautiful place from the beaches to the forests.  I love the  history - all bashing and bloody and awful while trying to be proper: There's just something comically genius about that. I love the architecture: Those castles and estates...oh my! I love the literature: Dickens, Austen, Lewis, Bronte X 3, Hardy, Tolkien... oh for goodness sakes, Shakespeare.  The mystery and whimsy, the hominess and quaintness.  I am enamored. Always been.

And, in thinking about actually ever going, I find myself wistfully dismissing the idea of going as a mere tourist.  Standing next to the guard at Buckingham Palace, walking through the tourist stalls of Piccadilly Square, taking pictures of Big Ben, constantly consulting the AAA Tourist's Guide to London. No, in my dreams (and since it's my dream, I can imagine it anyway I want), I am experiencing England with the English - outside of the hustle and bustle of London.  I'm in York or Bath or Sussex in a village pub or tea room.  Such a great imaginary trip.

Now picture with me my incredible surprise when I discover that the international service organization of which I am a member, Soroptimist International, has a group of clubs in Southern England and they are sponsoring a "Friendship Grant" to come visit their 13 clubs over a 2 week period this June.  I saw it as a personal invitation to ME.  Oh sure, it was open to anyone around the globe to apply but I knew (and I thought GOD knew) that this was a grant meant for me alone.  This was my dream trip.  More than that.  This was my destiny.

I worked on my grant like it meant life or death.  With unbelievable care and attention, I answered each question.  I was detailed.  I was amusing.  I was thoroughly engaging.  I added illustrations.  I had delightful anecdotes.  I was eloquent. It was, in short, The Masterpiece of Grants.

Since I've been out of the country .. like never.... I rushed out and got my passport.  Boy, that made it seem real.  I am going to England in June.

After re-reading my grant what seemed like 6,000 times, I was absolutely convinced I could not improve on it one iota.  Every word was perfect.  I emailed it to the proper recipient.  Rita.  I sent it to Rita in proper PDF format.  That was September 17, 2012.

Other than my immediate family and 4 very close friends, I didn't tell anyone about it.  It was my delicious secret.  I wanted my award to be a surprise. Close of applications for the grant was December 18.  I practically marked off on my office wall, like some soon to be paroled convict, the days until December 18th.

In the meantime, what a glorious time I had planning my trip.  Searching for stylish but comfortable walking shoes. Arranging to make an incredible video about our Soroptimist International of Corona Club (I'm the president this year) to share with the ladies in England.  Thinking about losing 30 pounds (let's not get crazy - I was just thinking about it). 

December 18th arrived and I didn't hear anything.  "Ooohhh", I said, " December 18th was the close of applications - not the Announcement of Winner Day".  There was no posted "Announcement of Winner" day but I calculated that, with it being Christmas and all, there would probably not be anything said until after the holidays.

Ughhhh.  More waiting,  Waiting is hard.  Its hard on kids waiting for Christmas to come.  Its hard waiting for a baby to decide to be born.  Waiting is just plain hard.  Waiting to hear those 8 magic words: "You are the winner of the Friendship Grant" was agony. I thought my head was going to explode with the waiting. So I broke my own cardinal rule of waiting and wrote to Rita on January 6th and asked if the decision for the grant recipient was still pending.  I wanted to say, "Come on, Rita, you know I'm your girl. Please put me out of my misery and tell me I'm the winner". I was much more cagey, more illusive.  I'm sure she saw right through me

When I saw the very next day that she had written me back, I couldn't bear to open the email.  I was both ecstatic and scared to death.  I didn't want to read that they had already picked someone named Sally "Most Fantastic Applicant in the History of Friendship Grants" Anderson of Nashville, TN or Greta " I can embroider 'God save the Queen' on the head of a pin" Svenson of Stockholm, Sweden. I wanted her to say, "Why Yes, Cyndi Monroe of Corona, CA, we have Chosen YOU!" Eventually my curiosity won out and I opened the email.  It read, "No, we have not chosen the winner.  We, the governors,  are meeting January 19th and on January 20th I will email  the applicants to let them know".

I exhaled enough to fill a large hot air balloon.  2 more weeks, though.  More agonizing waiting but at least I had a defined end date.  January 19th arrived.  I was feverish with excitement.  This was it.  I practically checked my email 100 times during the day.  Even though Rita said she would email the applicants on the 20th, I knew that there's a significant time difference.  On the 20th I got up and checked my email at 2:00 AM, 4:00 AM, 7:00 AM and then throughout the rest of the day.  Nothing.

It's a week later. I have checked my emails 10,000 times.  I never heard a word.  I did not receive the grant. I am not going to England in June (I am writing this down for my benefit not yours, dear Reader).  How could they not want me?  I'm so nice when you get to know me.  I was the exact right person for this adventure.  I know I was.  Except I wasn't.  I don't know why.

I am not mad.  I was never promised anything except the opportunity to apply.  Rita is probably the nicest woman on the planet and those English ladies knew better than me who would be right for their needs.  Dang! (I wanted very badly to use a different word here).

Which brings me back full circle to my opening paragraph.

See, this is how kids feel when they don't get cast in a show (although I want to magnify that emotion about 1,000%).  They feel like we didn't want them.  They feel like we don't want to be their friend.  Its not true.  They just weren't right for this show. I wasn't right for this Friendship Grant.  All the whining and wishing in the world won't change that.

So what have I learned from this whole lesson:
1. Life isn't fair
2. You already knew that
3. Get over it
4. Plan a new adventure and work just as hard to achieve it as you did writing this grant
5.  God absolutely has something better planned for you.

You know what else I always tell the kids and their parents if they don't make it in a show?  I tell them to go out for ice cream.  They will forget all about their disappointment.  What great advice.  I'm grabbin' my keys and heading for Farrell's. 


Marcy Decato said...

I am speachless. Knowing you, I am 200% certain that your application was the best. Another opportunity will arise, don't give up. I love you, I love your passion on everything you put your head and heart in. I am blessed to have you in my life ;)

Cyndi Monroe said...

Ah, Marcy, you sweet thing. Thanks for your vote of confidence. I really appreciate it! And, I really appreciate you!