“There are no small parts, only small actors.” Constantin Stanislavski
I’ve been on both the receiving and giving end of that line. As a director I’ve said those words to many students who just found out they didn’t get cast as the lead and are feeling disappointment. With all of my heart I believe those words to be true. There are no small parts. Every part in every production serves a vital role. I know this to be true, and because I believe it, I have often quoted it.
I’ve also been on the receiving end of that line. In High School when my drama coach said that to me I immediately responded with “yeah, right” (eye rolling might have also been involved). I still feel that way sometimes. Sometimes life seems so small and so unimportant that I find myself questioning whether my part in it matters at all.
“I am lonely, yet not everybody will do. I don’t know why, some people fill the gaps and others emphasize my loneliness.” ― Anaïs Nin
Humanly speaking, there is no way Ruth will come home this month. You see, there is a long list of things that should take months to play out, that have to come together in literally a matter of days. BUT, yesterday God...
Can I be honest?
It’s been a rough week. One of those “seriously if one more thing…” kind of weeks. It started out pretty subtle. A minor annoyance here, an unwanted thought there, but has continued to escalate to the point of a full out break-down with an ugly cry last night.
The first thing you notice about Jasmine is a smile that lights up a room and soft, welcoming eyes. But, sit down with her for just a few minutes and you’ll be surprised by the road she’s traveled. I was surprised to learn that this beautiful, put-together mom spent six years of her life trapped in the sex industry where she was beaten, abused and turned to drugs to cope with the reality of a life she never agreed to.
My car was packed and loaded with teenagers, suitcases, snacks, and one mom who was so beyond ready to get out of town and head to a cabin in the woods for a few days. We were making good time with the cruise control set on 65 and gorgeous scenery rolling by outside of the windows. In just a few short hours we would be at the cabin where there would be no work, no agenda, no schedule. Just days filled with fun.
Then we turned down Peter Cave Road.
I’m not a really big fan of games, but from time to time my family twists my arm and makes me play with them. If I do have to play a game I have my favorites; Scrabble, Boggle, and Taboo top the list. Notice a theme? I love words and word games.
Taboo is one of our family favorites. A quick refresher in case you haven’t played in a while: each team is trying to get their teammates to guess the “secret word” the only problem is there’s a list of words that are “taboo”. If you say one of the taboo words someone on the other team will buzz you. Buzzing people just happens to be my son’s favorite part of the game. I hate getting buzzed. Just when I seem to be on a role and getting lots of points for my team I’ll let one little word slip, hear that awful buzz in my ear, and be completely derailed.
Two summers ago I read a story in a blog that has recently come back to my memory. In fact, I can't quit thinking about the monkeys Fab saw that day:
One time I made the mistake of going to the Austin Rescue Zoo with a friend of mine. It is probably the most depressing way you could spend a day; each of the animals has been rescued from a terrible environment. I was excited to see the monkeys because (a) I like monkeys and (b) because these monkeys had been trapped in tiny containers (barely the size of their bodies) their entire lives and now they had this huge enclosure with room to swing in the trees and finally act like monkeys. I scanned every branch, but there were no monkeys to be seen. Then I saw a little girl pointing to the corner of the enclosure, and sure enough, there they were. The monkeys sat with hunched bodies in the corners of the cage with their faces pressed up against the bars. It was as if they didn't know that they had been set free and behind them lay this huge open space. I guess they felt more comfortable in the position they had known their entire lives. They didn't know how to move their bodies the way they were made; it hurt to stretch and move their muscles. So they just sat - looking at the exact same view they'd had before they were ever rescued.
To celebrate the first day of summer vacation my kids and I went to the movies yesterday. We love a good story, and God often uses story to show me truths about who He is and provide me with great conversations to have with my kids about our faith. Yesterday was one of those experiences.
If I were still a children's pastor I'd load up all my older kids and take them to see Maleficent this weekend. After the movie I'd take them all out for ice cream and ask them the following questions (serious spoilers ahead)...
Several years ago I was home sick. I spent the day on the couch watching TV between naps. On the Oprah show that afternoon there was a story of a little boy who lived 99 days. As a mom of 4 my heart was caught up in Matt and Ginny's story, learning they lived just a few short miles down the road from me made their story seem even more real to me. I couldn't figure out how they faced death, the death of their own child, with such grace and hope.
That's when I started following Matt's blog, trying to find the secret of the hope that carries him. Over the years I've gotten to know more that just Matt's story, I've gotten to know his heart. It's a heart that has faced the darkest, hardest things of life and grown softer, not harder, because of them. Matt loves Jesus in a way that is real and contagious. He's a loving husband, incredible dad, gifted teacher and writer, and a seriously funny guy!
We're so excited to invite you to join us as we dive into Matt Mooney's book "A Story Unfinished" this summer. Next week we'll be talking about the first few chapters.
Today, Matt joins us on the blog to help us launch the Summer Book Club. You can connect with Matt at The Atypical Life.