Looking Back

The overwhelming response from the fans is that I keep writing and that I write about my life. Even though I haven’t written in a few months, I’m finally ready to begin again so here goes . . .

I graduated yesterday afternoon with my M.A. in Theatre Arts. Where did the last eight years go? On Thursday I cleaned out the programs and notes from my time at this University. There is nothing like perspective. My junior year of undergrad I tried out for an experimental production but was rejected. The director (who became one of my most beloved teachers) emailed me the most encouraging rejection letter I’ve ever received. I printed it out and found it again on Thursday. I reread every note I received from the only faculty member to ever cast me in a production (until this year). I even found some of his rehearsal notes from the first University play I was in. I found the love notes from D—- and B—-. I found notes from people I don’t remember anymore. Looking back and realizing which moments are worth remembering lifted the burden of moving on.

I came across the only diary I ever kept: from the summer of my junior year until August 2014. The last diary entry I wrote was “This semester is going to be rocky. I have established a system, which my chronic illness has disrupted. I can’t eat whatever I want whenever I want. And buying groceries is so difficult! I either buy too much or too little. Work was hard this week, too. Vacation does that to you. I went to Pennsylvania to audition at Sight and Sound. I can’t dance and after the humiliating experience, I have no desire to ever try again. But I also know without a doubt that I do not want to stay at this University longer than I have to. I am in love with my best friend. My emotional attachment gets greater with every day. I need to leave or I will never have hope. It’s very difficult to believe that anyone will ever love me because whenever I want something, it never works out.”

Well, the time for me to move on from this University has finally come. I am moving to Chicago, alone, to pursue the most frightening dream of my subconscious. I am immersing myself in the world of theatre in the heart of the theatre world. I am afraid of failure. I am afraid of loneliness. But I fear succeeding most. To live a life of selfless vulnerability and collaborative teamwork terrifies me. Yet that life is the Christian life.

I have heard mention of something called a “safe place” when it comes to the theatrical process. While I heartily agree that there should be a “safe place” on this earth to be vulnerable and fail, on this earth there is no truly safe place. I cannot control what other people think or say of me or my art. I have to learn how to bear the criticism of others and be discerning. Only by vulnerability, which never feels “safe,” can I truly be safe. I learned this lesson in grad school. Only by bearing my soul open to the public and accepting the criticism of people who disliked what I created did I learn to feel safe. My safety is not placed in other people but in my Savior whose opinion of me and my work is the only opinion that truly matters.

I am moving to Chicago, safe in the Lord’s plan for my future, whether it include success or failure. No matter what the future holds, my life belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ to do with as He pleases, and that life will be a success.

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