Time Capsule: “The Show Must Go On”

“Strange as this journey seems, it has its purpose despite my lack of foresight and knowledge of the end.”

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Art. I live for art. I hope to make art. I crave an existence enveloped in art, and I am convinced that I was made to be a part of art. So, I create.

And recently I have been so blessed to delve into various platforms of art, to reflect upon my own words, the stories that have filled my heart, and I know that I am where I’m supposed to be despite the uncertainty of my future. But for now – for now I can trust I am where I’m supposed to be.

STORY TIME:

Years ago I took a chance to hop on the Theatre Train. And I do not regret it. I do not regret coming back to it after a two year hiatus. If anything, I am more convinced this is who I’m supposed to be. Last night, as I sat reflecting on my current circumstances, I became more grateful for my summer job, determined to overcome any opposition or discouragement, and hopeful that I can walk this journey to a great end.

My freshman year of college, at a time when my life choices were more influential to my future than I thought, my dad wrote me a letter. Attached to the letter was a photo of him at nineteen in Germany. On the back: “Follow your dreams.” And I think of these words almost every day.

FLASH FORWARD:

At that point in my life, I thought I would become a journalist, an English teacher, and a Director of a high school theatre. But those were someone else’s dreams. Without the words of my father, I would not have made the choices I have made in my life, some that may seem impossible to explain at times – graduating with a BS in Theatre Arts and a minor in Psychology, joining a ministry for a year where I worked as a farmer, and leaving Tennessee for Louisiana. These are just a few examples. But as strange as this journey seems, it has its purpose despite my lack of foresight and knowledge of the end.

I reflect upon the cheerful thoughts of a freshman Justin in 2012 who took the first steps in this direction.

TIME CAPSULE:

“I like where I am and who I am and who I see myself becoming. I like where God has taken me and where He is taking me.

Here I am a Theatre major with a Music minor, studying two things I never thought I’d be studying.

People always say, “I never saw myself being here five or ten years ago,” and we shrug it off. But we never realize that it’s usually the case for most people, until it actually happens to us.

As most things go, Theatre is tougher than it seems, and I really like it when people who aren’t involved with Theatre say things like, “I can’t imagine all the work that goes into a show.” It’s like they get it without getting it.

On the other hand, there are people who are completely ignorant and say, “That’s gay,” or, “You have no future,” or, “I bet I could do that. It’s so easy.” To those people, I propose a challenge: I dare you to memorize a series of notes of five different versions of the same song, lyrics, dance steps, and blocking. Let’s not forget lines and being in front of people when anything could go wrong. It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done with my life, but it’s also one of the hardest. Show people dedicate their lives, and I was recently told their souls, to the craft. It’s not a joke, and I would never treat it as such. (Although the soul thing was a joke, show business is not.)

Monday, I think, I had two hours of music practice, then three hours of dance practice. . . Dedication creates a great work ethic, I guess.”

Picture1
Costume & Makeup Class – Spring 2012

24

free verse

I started on top of the world;
I was healthy and hopeful and full of life,
Staring at the shine off the water,
Thinking, “How far will I go?”
So, I went. 

I took a trip to other waters;
I was smiling and dancing and taking chances,
Looking forward into the mysterious sometime when,
Hoping, “Maybe this is it.”
So, I leapt.

I left, and I leapt.
And my body plunged into that vast, endless crevice.
Shadows aflight, they tore at the sight of who I had become –
Flesh torn apart, warped, non-distinguishable.

I plunged, and I writhed.
I fought as I could until I settled into complacency.
Daggers drawn, they sunk their villainy into my core –
My soul did sore, bits of me scattered and jagged.

Words matter.
They always have.
And when you shout and scream and continue to taunt,
When you label and diminish and discern your own prejudices within a person who had spent years struggling, fighting, and longing to be whole –
When you hate,
You teach a person to hate their own sense of self.

I started on top of the world;
When I hit the bottom,
I was relieved to find unfamiliar waters.
Now, I’m secure in these fresh waters,
Safe, safe from you and your taunting.

Alpha’s Journal: Part 7

How can one confuse light for darkness?

Once again, I need to reiterate that this is not my journal, meaning I did not pick up smoking, if anyone happens to stumble across this blog entry. This poem is from a journal that recently and quite mysteriously showed up in my life.

 

“Every time I smoke I reflect.

The only reflection I see is you.

Mirrors show you what’s behind you,

And I guess I’m stuck in this looking glass.

 

I exhale with hope and exhale in the present.

Faith is a hell of a burden.

No guarantee, No proof, Just believe.

It’s a hard thing to have unless you can feel it. 

Emotions are physical even when not physically present.

Gift. A blessing and a curse.”

 

[Boy, this poem is more confusing than anything. Hell does not pertain to faith; Hell has all to do with fear — a twisted faith deriving from all things not of God. And faith does not have anything to with our power, our will, our feelings; they are a gift of grace by God Himself (when we submit our wills to His purpose), and everyone struggles with faith because we cannot manifest it for ourselves, within ourselves.

“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

Again, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

We all have some growth to do. But it’s important not to confuse punishment (i.e. fear) with love (i.e. faith).]

23

free verse

Reflecting, pondering,

And I look back and see a farm,

Vegetation, growth, green life –

Purpose.

 

Brotherhood –

Camaraderie in the most unlikely

Of forms, but brothers

Nonetheless.

 

Change – immense edification.

Hanging on a cliff

And then pushed out of the nest –

It was a spring board

For what? Lord only knows.

 

Hopes dashed,

Dreams crushed,

But that’s all carnal.

The truth is: Someone is

Serving up something unforeseen.

 

And it’s greater

Than I dare to imagine!

 

Thanks for reading. If you want to catch a glimpse of my life, check out this new video of my twenty-forth birthday!

20

a sestina

How does one take a year and make a blanket

Statement about every nitty-gritty bit of character

Development, from heart break to fear to excitement then unrelenting kindness?

How does one glance back at companions,

Both those he has yet to meet and the ones he once

Knew would rush into the open auburn?

 

When looking out at the vast auburn

Sky, it’s as if the Lord had taken a blanket –

A single thread woven into every shade of red all at once.

He, in His vast knowledge and wisdom, put His very character

Into the layout; I know my companions

Can see it, well Him, too – such kindness.

 

Grace – why mistake it for mere kindness?

Scarlet – only I could mistake it for auburn.

Family – as if they were lowly traveling companions.

Security – comfort mistaken as a cloth-like blanket.

Jesus whispers, “Yes, if you would hear, you would know I am the lead character.

Listen, son, just this once.”

 

Why ponder this once?

Why stop at His kindness?

Is there not also joy? Peace? Goodness? So much more to His character?!

Was He not beaten to what – to disfigurement at the shade of dry auburn?!

Was there not, in mockery, placed around Him a purple, ratty blanket?!

And looking down with his compassionate eyes, He saw enemies, no companions. . .

 

To lay one’s life down for his companions. . .

He did it just once.

But it was a blanket

Promise to all. Kindness. . .

To show us the Father’s love. Auburn

Leaves fall to the ground, but in spring they change character.

 

In spring, they come to life again. New character –

Same life, same love, inviting companions

To fellowship in memory of the dying auburn.

The leaves only fall once,

But so they rise to sit at the right hand of Kindness.

Trust in this, more than you might trust in any security blanket.

 

How does one take a truth and make a blanket

Statement about – well, more than just kindness?

And how could one speak it just once?