Two Days

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 15, 2017

This year, I have the shortest Christmas break that I think I've ever had. Between the show we're just finishing up and the next few shows on our list (we're back to having multiple shows going on at the same time) and work and commitments, I have exactly two days with my family. And even those aren't going to be without interruptions. I'm looking forward to cooking some FOOD and maybe watching a Christmas movie or two. I'm hoping this SNOW is joined by some sunshine so that I can take a long walk in it. I'd like to play some games and I'd like us all to put everything else aside for at least part of one day just to BE together. 

It's Christmas Eve and another day of me waking up far earlier than I need to. The words are here, so I'm doing what I've been doing. I opened the curtains and turned on a couple of lamps and crawled back into bed with a cup of coffee to make the most of these hours I'll have to myself. With Christmas and New Years and Epiphany all stacked up, it's easy to think back and to think ahead in wonder at the same time. There are people and times and traditions that we're missing. There are hopes and dreams that we're still hanging onto even all these years later. There are special plans that we're looking forward to. There is rest we know we'll be enjoying very soon. 

This time of year has always been my favorite. There's something about closing out the year with holiday after holiday dedicated to food and family with our minds set on what's really important in life. 

October 31st reminds us of the dual between dark and light. The legacy of those who labored so hard for the truth becomes real to us again. Then, at the end of November, we turn our minds to just how much we have to be grateful for. 

No sooner is the food put away, than we pull out the lights and the music and start rounding up the wrapping paper and those boxes full of memories that we hang all throughout our homes. We smile and there's a little dose of magic in the air. December becomes the month where so many of us quiet our souls with reality. Christ came and He's coming again. 

Before we know it, it's all over. The year. The parties. The breaks. Another January begins and we all resolve to put our best foot forward. Five days later, a few of us remember the wisemen and the trip they made and we thank God for the gift of faith He gave them and that He is giving us. 

We all celebrate in our own ways. Many of our traditions are passed down to us. Others are works of our own imagination. We mark the days and set them aside and fill them to the full with whatever it is that each one calls for. There's a skip in our step even though we all know things are the same underneath. Each of these days is just another day, but somehow, they're special. 

As they should be. 

Wherever you are. Whoever you're with. I hope this holiday season has been and continues to be a time of refreshment. May the time to be with the ones you love grant you perspective that will be helpful in the year ahead of us. Whether you have two days or two weeks, there's room for what's important. 

There's always room. 

Merry Christmas!

Life Lately

Friday, December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017

I settled on my word for 2018 earlier this week. I was on my way to the college and the Tedashii album that I have been listening to on repeat for months was playing and all of a sudden, I came around to the word that has been on my mind a lot lately even though I didn't even realize it. Since I have no idea when I'll be writing about it here, for now I'll tell you what it is and later on I'll tell you why. It's: through. And I couldn't be more excited about it. 

Life has been full to overflowing with Christmas and theatre and another new commitment. We went to the big parade and lighting ceremony. We made it through tech-week and opening weekend and a Christmas party. My brother performed at a coffee shop with his jazz group from school. I've been organizing and inventorying costumes. I finally got the Christmas decorations out and up.

I've been listening a lot lately. I've overheard conversations that made me want to cry. I've witnessed interactions and antics that made me smile and even laugh out loud. The dancing Grandpa in the food court and the little boy exclaiming how amazing something was at the top of his lungs both reminded me that we don't have to hold things back. I'm working on that. 

I talked to Alice and Amber and my brother on the phone this week. I now know what it means when people tell you it's good to hear your voice. When life is hard or heavy or you just need someone familiar to remind you what it is not to have to explain yourself, those familiar voices are like a balm. We laughed. We talked about the hard things. We sat in silence just knowing the other person was on the other end of the line. And as Alice always says, it was good. 

It's Friday morning. I'll be putting on my my brother's ugly sweater and heading to work soon. When I get off, I'll head to the theatre for my night to sit in the audience of the big show my brother and sister have been working on for months. 

What have you been up to?

Quiet Strength

Friday, December 01, 2017

Today is the day in history that Rosa Parks was arrested and charged with being guilty of civil disobedience after she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger. She was taken down to the police station where they took her mugshot and fingerprinted her and treated her like every other criminal in the place. They were within their bounds. The fact was, she was guilty of something that should never have been considered "wrong" in the first place.

She didn't resist. She didn't argue. She didn't fight back. She sat. Then, when the officers came, she stood so they could arrest her. And after that, she continued to fight for justice.

She didn't give up.

I've admired this woman ever since I read about her story in social studies sometime during elementary school. As I grew older, I wrote papers about her life and legacy every chance I got. There's something to be said about standing strong in the face of being charged with being guilty of something that was never wrong in the first place.

I was impressed by what I would later recognize as her quiet strength. It's easy not to stand up to authorities, especially when "the law" is on their side. It's easier to endure suffering than it is to do whatever it takes to bring about change. Confrontation is horrible and costs more than most of us are willing to pay.

And yet...If we give up, we'll only have to keep giving up.

Yesterday morning, I read Psalm 13 and I was reminded of some words that I'm going to keep coming back to for a good long while,

"But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation." 
  Psalm 13:5     

No mater what charge is brought against us, no matter how alone we might feel or be, if we are called by God's name, His banner is over us. His steadfast love is ours and we can trust in it. We are saved to the uttermost and our hearts can rejoice. 

Whether it's giving up a seat on a bus because of the color of our skin, a call to submit because of our gender, a command to be silent because of our beliefs, or something else entirely, we've got to be sure of what's right and willing to stand firm in that belief. Whatever it takes. Whatever the consequences may be. 

God has gone before us and He goes with us. We may be tired, but we don't have to give up.