Today, I would like to share with you a comparison that I stumbled upon recently between theatre and God.
I am a theatre nerd. I was introduced to theatre, or drama club as it were, my sophomore year in high school. My junior year in high school I was treasurer of our drama club and by my senior year I was president. I hold both a B.A. in technical theatre and an M.A. in speech with the focus on theatre. I have worked in professional theatre, equity and non-equity, and community theatre. Overall, I spent more than ten years of my life working in theatre in some form or fashion. And, while I haven’t worked on a play in about eighteen years, I will always love it and it will always hold a dear place in my heart and life.
When most people think of theatre, or plays, the first thing that comes to mind is acting and/or actors. Most people’s acquaintance to theatre is as an audience member, so that makes a lot of sense. However, there is considerably more to theatre than meets the eye. It is made up of markedly more than just the actors and acting.
There is a whole other world that takes place behind the scenes and an abundance of work that goes into every production prior to the “finished” product that you witness. What makes theatre so magical, in my humble opinion, is that, if done correctly, as an audience member, you don’t even realize this part of it. What you get is simply a seamless experience—an escape, if you will, into another universe. You should be so immersed in that play’s particular environment, that you don’t even notice everything that is happening behind the scenes--the practical logistics of it. And, trust me, there are a slew of logistics!
As I noted above, my degrees are in technical theatre. Most people don’t really understand what that term means, so let me enlighten you. Technical theatre encompasses scenery, lighting, costuming, sound, and properties. Basically, it is everything that goes into a production other than the acting. And, it takes an army of people to get all of this work done. You have playwrights, dramaturgs, stage directors, production or stage managers, technical directors, scene designers, lighting designers, costume designers, prop designers, sound designers, carpenters, scenic charge artists (or painters), electricians, audio engineers, prop masters, costumers, stagehands, and board operators. If you are producing a musical you can add in musicians and choreographers. (And, these are just the people that come to mind right now, I am sure I am forgetting some people—my apologies to my fellow theatre peeps.)
So, what does any of this have to do with God and being a Christian? Well, a great deal.
I like to think of God as our playwright. He created us and brought us into being. He is the author and perfecter of our faith. (See Hebrews 12:2). Each of us is a character in this play called “Life.” And, we each play a critical role, weather we realize it or not. As Konstantin Stanislavski, the great Russian theatre practitioner, once remarked, “there are no small parts, only small actors.” We each play the lead role in our own lives. And, while the role we play in our own lives is critical, our roles are just as meaningful and necessary in the grand scheme of things, or the play of “Life” that I referred to earlier.
And while God is our playwright, He is also every theatre technician that I mentioned above, working furiously behind the scenes of our lives. Rarely, if ever, do we get a chance to see “behind the curtain” of heaven, but there are about a bazillion things going on back there. (Much the same as it is in theatre.)
If you went backstage during a show, you would see lots of folks running around and doing stuff that made zero sense to you. Even if you are a bonafide theatre nerd like me, and have a good idea of what is happening, you would never fully understand all the intricacies of it unless you were a part of it from the beginning. And, the only entity who has been around since the beginning is God. Only He knows what He doing. As a Christian, I am learning and growing every day—but I only grasp a very small part of His overall grand design. So, much like being backstage during a play, oftentimes our own lives make very little sense. And, that’s ok. What matters most is how it all comes together in the end.
As an audience member, a good audience member, it is our job to sit back and take it all in. We, as good audience members, must do what is referred to as “the willing suspension of disbelief.” Basically, this means that it is necessary for us to accept the given premises and parameters of the story unfolding in front of us. It is our job to simply believe. It is both a very easy and a very complicated thing to do. Just believe.
I really like what Ed Hooks has to say about this topic:
“A theatrical experience is a unique thing. Think about it, focusing for the moment on the legitimate theatre: Actors, audience members, tech crews all come together at the same time in the same place for a common purpose. Their meeting is not any more random than meetings at church, synagogue or mosque. The purpose of this meeting is to share a theatrical experience, and all parties – including the audience members - have to work together to make it happen.”
In theatre, as with life, we have to work together to make the desired outcome happen.
As audience members at a play, we have no idea what is going on backstage. This is how it is and how it should be. As members of the audience of the play, we have to work together and believe, with the actors and tech crews, to make the theatrical experience happen.
As members of the body of Christ, we have no idea what is going on behind the scenes in heaven. Again, this is how it is and how it should be. We have to work together with God and believe in Him and trust Him and all that He is doing behind the scenes.
If we work successfully with the actors and tech crews at a play, we should walk away with a joyful, fulfilling experience. All we have to do is just believe.
If we work successfully together with God, we should come away with a joyful, fulfilling life. All we have to do is just believe.
The whole reason I started this blog was because I needed to find a way focus on the good things in life. At its core, this blog is for me. I will be honest and up-front about that every time. I started it for my own benefit as I had to have some sort of outlet to force me to look on the bright side. But, honestly, I want to do more to BE the good, rather than just sharing the good. I am in the process of figuring that out for myself. I want to do good things, I want to be helpful to others, I want to volunteer, I want to make a difference. My problem is that I just don’t have the energy to physically do much of anything. I have a family and a full time job. I also have what I now refer to as a “mysterious illness” as I have yet to be correctly diagnosed with anything specific. My “mysterious Illness” limits what I can actually do. It sucks!. Anyway…I digress. The point is, is that I can’t do a lot of stuff that I used to do or more importantly, that I would now like to do. So I will continue to do what I can, and right now that is sharing good stuff with you.
There are a lot of people out there right now who need to see the good and positive things in this life as much as I do. There are a vast number of reasons lately-- that I don’t particularly want to get into--I actually feel like we are all in dire need of this even more today than when I started this blog just a year ago. So far, 2016 has been one heck of a tough year for lots of people. There seems to be a general miasma that we all need to be rid of. So, in that vein, I wanted to share with you two great stories that I came across this week. Both should make you feel good, but for different reasons.
But, before we get to these stories, I would like to share a thought: no matter what is going on in your life, be nice to everyone you come across. It costs you nothing. And, while other people may not be nice to you, by taking the high road and being nice to them, you will feel better about yourself and life in general. And, if you don’t feel like being nice, remember you can always fake it until you make it. Plus, being nice and doing good will come back to you. Just follow the Golden Rule and you will start to feel better about life. I realize it might sound crazy, but there are studies that prove it works!
Here are some links to read up on it if you don’t believe me:
Now, on to the 2 stories I was talking about earlier.
The first one is about Rachel Farnsworth, The Stay at Home Chef. Earlier this year Rachel had someone comment on a video that she posted. The person basically told Rachel that her gray hair made her look like an old hag. How horrible is that? Well, Rachel’s response is FABULOUS! She most definitely takes the high road., which she didn't have to do. Watch the video and read her response right here. She tells us that we should all “Be That Person” – and I agree!
The second comes from Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman. As most of you know, I went to graduate school at Oklahoma State University. And, needless-to-say, I am a huge Cowboy fan. This past Saturday was Bedlam, which is our rivalry football game against the University of Oklahoma (OU). Jenni wrote an article that gets directly to the heart of what good sportsmanship is. Read her piece on “Why OU running back Samaje Perine taking a knee instead of scoring a touchdown was Bedlam’s best play” and I am sure you will have new respect for rivalry games and OU. (Perine is a class-act, as is the OU football program.)
Both of these stories highlight the fact that we just need more love in the world. You can do your part. It is so simple-- just start by being nice and treating others the way you want be treated. I plan on doing everything I can to make this world just a tiny bit better. Won’t you join me?
I graduated from Oklahoma State University back in 1999. I received my Master of Arts degree there and I am a proud alumna. I studied technical theatre and not only learned a lot, but made some great friendships that continue to this day.
This afternoon we play our homecoming game. It will be bittersweet, as it will be our first homecoming game since we experienced the tragedy that happened at our homecoming parade last year. Actually, the one-year anniversary of that event was this past Monday, October 24. Sadly, four people were killed and 47 others were injured when a driver drove into a crowd of people watching the parade.
What makes that even worse, if that is at all possible, is that this was just the latest in what has been a string of tragedies at Oklahoma State. In November 2011, we lost our women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna, along with two others in an airplane crash while they were on a recruiting trip. Then, back in January 2001, an airplane crash killed ten people; two men’s basketball players, and six members of the coaching staff and OSU broadcasters. A beautiful memorial was built outside of Gallagher-Iba Arena in their honor called “Remember the Ten.”
The reason I am writing this blog post today is because I wanted to highlight the good things that I have found that has come out of these heart-breaking calamities. I wanted to focus on the love and light—the beauty from the ashes.
One of the first things I saw online after the car crash into the parade was a video posted on the Facebook page of Fox Sports Southwest. It shows OK State football players kneeling and praying before the game. People in Stillwater are good, God-loving people and they are not afraid to show it. #StillwaterStrong quickly became the hashtag marking their strength and outpouring of love and support.
Later that evening, Oklahoma State students gathered for a candlelight vigil and sang Amazing Grace. It was truly spectacular. The Pistols Firing Blog posted a video. Watch it. If you are like me, you will need a tissue!
Our biggest rival, the University of Oklahoma had their choir perform the Oklahoma State Alma Mater at their concert the next day. What a classy move.
The next weekend in our football game against Texas Tech, in College Station, the Red Raiders showed their support by sharing the #StillwaterStrong ribbon on the scoreboard.
Joshua Rogers wrote a great article on Fox News in their Opinion section. It is called Americans less religious? Don’t be fooled, believers are holding steady. The first picture you see is of OK State players and staff praying. It is a great article! Read it here.
ESPN writer, Jeremy Willis, posted a short blog on November 7, 2016 highlighting #StillwaterStrong: Cowboys’ community rallies, TCU shows support.
Then, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder went to the hospital to visit the homecoming victims. They scored a lot more than 3 points to those victims and their families.
Oh, and not to mention, all the great reactions and showing of support on social media. Kyle Boone features some of the players tweets on this blog post: Players React on Social Media Following Bedlam Loss.
I can’t tell you how much I love, love, love all of these things!!!
And, as I am typing this post, this year's homecoming parade is taking place. Stillwater’s first responders are serving as grand marshals of OSU Homecoming 2016: ‘A Cowboy Dream.’ The school wanted to do this as a show of respect for all their heroic actions at last year's parade. The school has also set up a beautiful online memorial to honor the lives Nash Lucas, Nikita Nakal, Bonnie Stone and Marvin Stone. I encourage you to go visit the page and take a few minutes to pray for their families.
So, while our hearts and minds will initially be reminded of last year’s tragedy, and tragedies past, we can choose to look on the bright side and see all the good will that it brought. I truly believe this is the best way to live our lives. We will always be #StillwaterStrong.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light.