Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And Now, for Something Completely Different

I always dreamed of being an actress. I used to stand in front of the mirror in the bathroom and strike poses, and invent characters. I used to imagine myself wearing the most beautiful clothes, and being noticed. I would imagine myself standing up in front of people, being poised and confident, and never forgetting my lines.

I wanted to be a star. Or at least, I wanted to shine, to stick out, to be noticed, to do something great.

In reality, all I had a couple of bit parts. We did an ensemble piece based on Marlo Thomas' book, Free To Be .... You and Me when I was in high school and I had a couple lines of narration. It was great to be part of the team, even though a small part. I loved the musicals, but I flunked dancing, so I never got any further.

Until my last year of seminary, when I got my fifteen minutes of fame, playing Eliza in a church production of My Fair Lady.

I didn't lobby for the part; the church asked me if I would audition. It was given to me.

That's always the way I thought it should be. I could be a leader, in the center, the star of the show, the one calling the shots -- but only if they asked ME. I couldn't reach out and take it; I could only receive it. Because, deep down, I thought it was wrong to stand out, to call attention to myself. Today, someone questioned the wisdom of that position. "If you want something," she said, "sometimes you have to reach out and take it. You can't wait for someone to give it to you."

All I want is a room somewhere
Far away from the cold night air
With one enormous chair
O, Wouldn't it be Loverly?

Eliza was braver, and better than I thought.

She had a dream, and she reached out for it.

She took a risk. She let her light shine. She was a star.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Yes, sometimes (not always, but sometimes) if we don't go after that thing we want, then we aren't pursuing the role God has for us.

I can't tell you how many times I gave up writing because it was "calling attention to myself." God always led me back to it.

On the other hand, I too wanted to be an actress as a child, and it wasn't the right path for me. It's all a process of continual discernment, isn't it?

Barbara B. said...

You'd enjoy the new Julie Andrews book -- lots of good stuff on My Fair Lady!

L.J. Show, Presbyterian Gal said...

I got to be an actress without all the icky auditioning by being in Covenant Players. Over 4,000 performances of more than 250 roles in ten years.

But you. You get to write every week and stand up and preach. See now, I could never do that.

When you act, you're being someone else. It's actually easy. But when you preach you are just you, asking God to speak through you. Now THAT's a big deal.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Diane, as soon as I started reading your post, I thought, "Diane, you already do that." What is a sermon, but a performance? What is leading worship, but theater? I know that you're sincere and that your heart is in your public ministry, and that it's not ONLY a performance, but one that you put all of yourself into. I'll bet your congregation pays attention, too.

You have reached out. You did take the risk. Let your light shine. (I know you do.)

Diane said...

PG, LJ, you are so right.

And Mimi, it's not necessarily that I want to be an actress, still. But I realize that I like being in the center of things, and that it's ok to go for it, and not wait for someone else to give it to me.

Although being Eliza: it was an entirely new experience for me.

And fun!

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

not always easy to go after our dreams... but well worth it! who has placed them in our heart but God in the first place... whether the dream be acting once upon a time, or the dream is something else for you today... I beleive God is waiting & watching for you to take ahold of it and become... and maybe in some ways you already have.

Jan said...

Your light shines in all you do! I loved the pictures. You have had an interesting life.

You're at the center of things when you preach, pointing to the Center of Life.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes our dreams evolve in ways we never imagined. I'm still trying to figure mine out :)