Sunday, December 06, 2009

Set Work

Years ago, I needed a name for the mayhem and madness that exploded in my living room each week when anywhere from two to a dozen or more teenage girls gathered to share lives, loves, a lot of laughter and a fair share of tears over brownies and Bibles.

I decided on the moniker “Backstage Youth,” because I came to view the moments we shared hunkered down around the brownie pan, puzzling over the best approach to problems and praying for the wisdom to do it well as the behind-the-scenes “backstage” moments that made all the difference when we went back out to that oh-so-public “stage” we know as Real Life.

Drawing on everything I ever learned in a Dramatic Past that includes the teaching, writing, and performing of live drama, I knew that the quality of the “finished product” any group of performers brings to a stage is all about what happens when the house lights are down, scripts are open, and the players are focused on the director.

It’s no different in life. The world sees what happens on the “main stage” of our lives, and what happens backstage determines what they see. Backstage is where decisions are made, fears are overcome, confidence is gained, and relationships are formed. It’s where God can do his work in us so we can do our work for him.

I went MIA from Blog-ville circa Tuesday last week and I’ve been backstage the whole time. Practical set work involving my physical space played a big role in my disappearance. Being in a family that devotes an entire week to a huge Thanksgiving requires a fair amount of clean up at the same time we need a complete set change for Christmas. Despite my feelings about the intermingling of holidays, I must confess to a few days of inter-holiday commerce as gourds and garlands clashed at various intersections. But now? Writing this by only light from some of the 1,500-plus mini white bulbs twinkling from green garlands around my home? It’s hard to believe that just one week ago I sat in the same seat amidst leaf swags, carved pumpkins, and turkey feathers.

But my backstage work hasn’t been limited to just my set. As I’ve discovered with every production in which I’ve ever been involved, the backstage intensifies just prior to the production’s debut. The players disappear from the public eye as backstage becomes their temporary home as they focus and prepare for the Big Moment.
I’m not currently in a production right now but life has still been like that for me a this past week. There’s a lot going on in the life of my family right now. It’s all Big Stuff or the Life Changing variety-- invariably exciting, and very wonderful—but still seems Big. I don’t know how everything will unfold over the coming weeks and months, but I feel on the cusp of changes. Changes for which I want to be prepared. And the best place I know to do that is backstage, with prayers and chocolate.


Raoulysgirl said...

Backstage=home. I'm a behind the scenes kind of girl myself!

5thsister said...

I love this analogy! Are we, then, the script writers, producers or directors of the drama we call life? I'm guessing we're all 3!

Gropius said...

Very nice. One of the ladies on my weekend trip meets every Friday at 6 am to lead a Bible discussion group with teenagers. At the beginning, she told the minister there was NO WAY a group of youngsters would agree to meet at this time, but that was 13 years ago... Still going. Great story.

Julie Schuler said...

Sometimes I wonder if we spend too much time setting the stage. Maybe that's why I let the family eat all the Christmas cookies I made yesterday, and intended to put away.

Willoughby said...

Wonderful post! It sounds like you've got a lot going on in your life.

Kathleen said...

Great post! Will be praying for you as you face Life and the changes it is bringing for you. Can't wait to hear about some of them as you feel open to share them...

Erin said...

I think we are all dealing with the same sorts of things right now. It's that tough time of year when traditions and visitors and decorations and pie all collide. I really enjoyed your analogy.

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

Thought provoking comments--I love it!

@Polly--a screen name I use online is "stagehand4jc" I like to think that I'm living out the purpose for which I was created...which I suppose makes God the producer? I'm a big fan of free will, though, so good question :)

@Gropius--When I first expressed to my husband that I wanted to do the girls group, he was all for it--except that he was afraid I'd be disappointed when no one came. That, also, was 13 years ago :) I think the whole thing has really run its course at this point, but it was a good run. A very good run.

@ Julie--True. At some point we have to stop setting the stage and act! Good point!

Thanks to all...I enjoyed reading these comments.

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