I read my bits of Acts and Philippians today…and I don’t know, somewhere between “be anxious for nothing” and “I count all things loss for Christ,” it hit me that if going to grad school for stage management, heck, if having a career in stage management isn’t going to or can’t be an act of love and worship for me – if it’s really all about late nights, too much caffeine, and sweating the small stuff…then why would I do it?
I’m not expressing myself well.
Anything that becomes too big and defining a part of one’s identity, save belonging to and with and in Christ, is going to become burdensome eventually. I have been there. Babysitter, best friend, stage manager – these are all good things, and I have abused them and suffered the consequences! I should know this by now. But maybe it took this semester to bring it home; maybe I needed this particular intersection of events to help me realize that stage management is not who I am, it is how I worship. Just like my relationships. Just like all my other work, anything I care about at all. When it tries to become more than that – when I start stressing about my Whole Future hanging on my abilities and all-inclusive drive in this area – we run into trouble.
What’s the verse? “I led her into dry places, where there is no water…and there I spoke tenderly to her.” Possibly Ezekiel. Or Song of Songs. Either way, I understand: God needs to take us into the desert for us to come out of our stupid blindness and finally turn to him, plugging ourselves in to his goodness and beauty and richness for all our needs, otherwise we are taken in by the excitement of other things, not realizing (we are very shortsighted) that everything must needs come back to him, and when we try to detach it and make it just our own, for our fulfillment in itself, it will wither and die.
Unless I have offered up my life as a sacrifice to be taken away, broken, killed and burnt first, it is of no use, to me or anyone else. I have to give it to Him in order for Him to entrust it to me, richer and better fed than before.
You may wonder what provoked this particular post. Well, it turns out that DePaul doesn’t actually offer stage management as a graduate study program. I was confused or misinformed somehow; they have it for undergraduate, but their graduate program is actually quite different. There was something about having all my rosy-starred expectations imploded in this way that made me stop and think, and realize how heavily I have been leaning on this future career to give me some fulfillment in life. And then, of course, we ran up against some basic assumptions and presumptions that I didn’t even know I had. Which train of thought has been none too pleasant, but is always good.
I’m still in love with Chicago, though. And I still want to work and live there; I’m still turning over ideas and theaters in my head. But now I’m thinking more seriously about what I’m expecting to get out of this, what I need to do for that meaning or fulfillment, and I’m wondering about ministry. I'm surprised I've never seriously thought about this before, actually - I think all the happiest, most content people I know have some area of ministry and/or sacrifice evident in their lives.
Sorry to leave you hanging at Michigan Avenue, by the way. In future, I will know to write my adventure-days all in one go, then post them in parts – otherwise they never get done at all. If anyone is really dying to know what else happened (doubtful), though, leave me a comment:)