The Engineered Air Theatre at Epcor Center in Calgary, Alberta. The bored guy sat in the second row in the middle.
When I was in my twenties, a friend of mine, a singer-songwriter who now lives in Nashville (I think – it’s been years since I last talked to him), encouraged me to find focus. I don’t remember his exact words, but the thrust was that achievement would only come through a tighter focus on a particular skill-set. The world we live in these days is not (generally) for generalists.
Obviously, I’m not sure I ever took his advice, and have lived a sort of vagabond experience within the world of creativity, theatre, spirituality, and art. It’s the same challenge that makes it hard to blog, because when I sit down with blogging in mind, I rummage through my bank of thoughts, and truthfully, there’s too much to say, and I don’t know which is interesting to the folks reading anyway.
But I’m on a bit of a mission to change some things about my life (been there, done that–but still…), and over the past few months have instigated some habit patterns that are working a slow transformation that I sense is gaining strength. So one of the goals for the month of October is to blog everyday. There…I’ve said it in public, and now I’m committed. Well…we’ll see.
So on this first day, let’s peruse the topics I could ruminate on. My recent trip to Calgary, which was interesting in that several things occurred during the four-night run of Leaving Ruin that made it all new. Opening night, I smashed my finger in a heavy metal door in the middle of Act Two, which made for an interesting end of the play (I cried like I was supposed to, but for entirely different reasons.) The union technician never did get the sound cues right (there are only 8–up…down four times.). Closing night, a young man (or it might have been a young woman–I didn’t get a clear look) in a white suit and white hat (no kidding) sat in the front row in the middle chair, bored out of his mind and being quite physically demonstrative about it, which made me as angry as I’ve ever been on stage–which again, made for an odd emotional journey. And finally, there was the woman who came to me after a strong Friday evening performance and couldn’t speak for some time, but stood there fighting her emotions, then announced that because of experiences in her life that Cyrus’ journey brought to mind, she did not believe in God, or if she did, what she believed was that He wasn’t good.
Given the story she reported concerning her brother-in-law pastor who went very far off the deep moral end, it seemed a fair enough point-of-view. We talked about the ever-present evil in the world, and also the ever-present good, and in the end, perhaps she wasn’t changing her mind, but somehow I had the sense that God had reached out to her in that place, and that maybe her brooding about God would take on a different tone.
Anthony DeMello points out the sort of craziness in which we don’t get mad at God until something about our lives goes awry, as if all the other lives going awry in the world weren’t being upset about. As I told the woman that night, all the terrible things that you can imagine are going on right now, right this minute, and lives are being destroyed in horrific ways all the time. Perhaps it’s only natural that we don’t really notice until the hard times show up at our house, but still, as we consider God, surely we can’t only consider Him in terms of our own blessings/tests ratio. Then we talked about Buechner’s quote. It’s on mind constantly these days. “What’s lost is nothing next to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”
Evil and wrong are ever-present, but I think Buechner’s right.
See you on the 2nd…