Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Moments of Clarity

Every so often in my life, I will get a sudden moment of extreme clarity. A moment in which everything snaps into focus and for a second, I have no doubts, I have no questions, I am certain of something more than I ever have been in my life.

Several years ago (2006 maybe?), I was working with my youth group drama team. We were putting on a full play, and our leading lady had great acting talent vocally, but she looked... a little stiff up on the stage, especially whenever she had to interact with our leading man, who was playing her husband. It was a church play, so there was no kissing or anything, but there were occasional flirty interactions - an arm around the shoulder, a hug - and she got very awkward. I sympathized, but we were going to have to find an answer if this show was going to work.

With the permission of my co-directors, I took her aside whenever she wasn't in a scene and worked with her. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew we had to do something to loosen her up a bit. I made up some exercises that I thought might help her relax a bit on stage. We tried all kinds of different things, and I slowly started seeing a change. She did relax a bit, she looked better, and she sounded better.

On opening night, when I could no longer change anything, I just sat in the front seat watching, and I was amazed. She took everything we had worked on together and put it into practice. She was possibly the best, most natural-looking actor on stage that night. As I sat there, I suddenly got chills as I realized I had something to do with. My experimental exercises somehow made an actual, dramatic difference in how she did something.

And that's when I knew I wanted to teach theater.

I was traveling with the drama company, on a team full of people who liked to worship. I was growing more and more frustrated because I'd never been able to connect to God through worshiping with a group of people, no matter how hard I concentrated or how much I prayed.

One night, we were staying late at a church after the service was done. The pastor told us to lock the doors on our way out and essentially left us there, so we did some team worship time. We sang actual songs for about an hour, and then John just kept playing guitar and we ended up sort of scattering off to our own corners, quietly singing or praying or just sitting in silence.

During that time, I began praying and asking God why I couldn't do this. Why was I incapable of worshiping him? Was there something in my heart keeping me from him? Why, when we did these worship times, did I concentrate so hard and try so hard to hear from God and still just find myself waiting patiently until it was over and I could go back to whatever I was doing before?

I wouldn't say I've heard God speak to me very often, and certainly not this strongly, but I had a sudden revelation that I absolutely believe came from God. I felt like he was saying to me: "It's because I didn't create you to worship me that way. I created you to worship me through art."

And that's when I knew God not only supported my love for all things artistic, but encouraged it.

It was only a couple years ago that I started blogging again, and I ended up writing a lot about introversion on my blog. At one point, an acquaintance had recently dismissed those blogs, indicating that he didn't know why we couldn't just leave the whole introvert/extrovert debate alone - he never felt pressured to be one or the other and he felt like I was stirring things up for no reason. Although I tried to be gracious in my response to him, that stuck with me, and I ended up wondering once again if maybe I was just broken or overly sensitive in my response to these things.

Shortly after that interaction, I was hanging out with a group of friends. I struck up a one-on-one conversation with one of the girls. We chatted for awhile, and then she told me that my blogs about introversion had been very meaningful for her. She said she'd never really thought of herself as being all that introverted, but she connected with everything I'd said in my blogs, and that she was really encouraged by them, and that because of things I'd written, she was starting to realize that, no, she wasn't broken either. Just an introvert.

I don't think I cried when she told me all this, but I came really close.

And that's when I knew that my story was important and my story was making a difference.

I've had other moments of clarity besides these three I chose as examples - ones where I realized God really does love me, where I realized what true fellowship looks like, where I realized I wanted to spend the rest of my life with the man I'm marrying in July.

For someone like me who is constantly reexamining her life and her opinions and her thoughts, remembering the moments of clarity is really important. They become the building blocks of the rest of my life. They are the things I know for certain, even if I no longer feel them. When I have a moment of clarity, I try to latch onto it and journal about it so I will remember it forever, so that even ten years from now when I have a day where I worry I've made all the wrong decisions in my life, I can look back at these moments and find some peace as I remember, no, these things are still true.

1 comment:

  1. Last July, I wrote a piece in my blog about my blogging philosophy (i.e., why I blog the way I do). Shortly after I published it, I realized that I didn't want it to get lost in the archive of older posts because I felt it was a perfect introduction piece for anyone who may discover my blog and begin reading it. I linked it as a "Page" and it's been there ever since.

    This piece, I feel, is your version of that. It's a wonderfully written microcosm of who I believe you are: Christian, stage teacher/enthusiast, introvert - they're all represented here.

    I should also add that your voice is powerful. It is a gift and I believe you were meant to use it exactly as you have been using it. I truly do believe that, and I'm thrilled that you see and appreciate your power for yourself, and that you use it to help others as you do. I've learned much from you already and I look forward to the things you have yet to teach me.