**Warning: This post is long, and somewhat dramatic. I’m sorry, I just needed to write this stuff down.**
This weekend is yet another “dinner and a show” put on by the youth group at Hershey Free church to raise money for the trips that the youth take this summer. It’s going to be amazing, with a huge set, amazing costumes, and people directing this thing with everything that they have. The problem is… I can’t be there. I won’t be able to be a part of what’s going on, because I’m in another country.
Pity party aside, I have a reason for this to be a hard thing for me. Let me explain.
Since I can remember, I’ve put on shows for people. Little skits that me and my sisters and sometimes friends would come up with to show to our parents. For almost every significant holiday in our lives, we would put on a skit. It was always initiated, written or found, and directed by my oldest sister.
I remember playing Gabriel in the Christmas play that we did in Whitby. I thought it was one of the most profound and powerful plays ever. I remember us acting out our interpretation of my parents engagement. I remember doing a dance to a Steven Curtis Chapman song with my older sister, acting like we were the coolest thing ever! I remember some costume mishaps that happened in the last play that we did, a Christmas one in Hershey. We always “kept it a secret” from our parents. Like it was a huge surprise that every single holiday, we had a play to perform. But for some reason, I’m pretty sure that my parents were never actually surprised. I’m not really sure why, when we were SO sneaky. 🙂
Anyway, after our last play, there was a lull in the acting “business.” But not for long. We started video taping some reenactments of our finest moments, and compiled it into a huge video for my parents a couple of years ago.
So that was the start of my life on “the stage” if you could call my living room a stage. A couple of years later, my sister, the same one who was our play “dictator” for all of those years, realized that this wasn’t just a hobby of hers, but something that she was good at and passionate about, especially in regards to the ministry that it could be used for. So, after talking to a lot of people, she started a drama team for our youth group. It was really small at first. In fact many times, it ended up being really just me, my two older sisters and one other person. But it grew, slowly and became a family. We goofed off together and laughed until we cried, but we also got to be a part of some amazing things that God did. Throughout my high school years, I got to be the overweight girl in a monologue skit about identity, I got to play an obnoxious girlfriend who definitely wore the pants in her relationship in a blind-folded skit. I got to cry, yell, scream, laugh, and overall be a part of what God was doing to convict and encourage others in their faith. And in the process, I learned a ton. Not only about acting, like being able to do improve fairly well, and not getting super nervous when I got on stage, but I also learned a lot about being on a team. About serving God by giving it everything I had and then, when I was exhausted, enjoying watching what He did with it.
And then, it got even more official. My sister got asked to direct the dinner theatre. This was something that the church put on, often a play, done to raise money for the youth’s missions trips the next summer. People would come and eat some lasagna and watch the show, and then leave. When E, my sister, got asked to direct it, she decided that she wanted to do something that was meaningful. It wasn’t about just putting on a show, it was about putting on something with a message and a point. It was about presenting the truth of Jesus Christ to the audience. It was a ministry. So, she compiled a bunch of skits with a central theme, some extremely powerful songs, and someone to wrap it up at the end. That night, I still remember. We had worked so hard, and while it wasn’t professional, we had done our best and there was nothing left to do, but let God take it. It was that night that profoundly affected me. It wasn’t the show, so much as what was happening behind the scenes. Before the show, without any prompting, we all got into a circle, huddle style, and prayed like crazy for God’s will to be done. And throughout the rest of the night, we all, whenever we weren’t onstage, were constantly praying. It was one of the most amazing things, because you could feel the Holy Spirit surround the place.
After that, the team continued to do more skits and more dinner theatres. And with each one came more improvement and change. But, because of where we started, we were a family who loved what we did, because we saw how we got to be used in God’s ministry.
Last year, was the last one that I and the few of us who had been there from the beginning could be a part of. And, let me tell ya, it was an emotional time for us. It was the end of our part in it, because we were all heading separate ways for college.
Those memories are something that I will cherish forever, as cliché as that sounds. I don’t think that I would be the same person without all of this going on in my life.
And hearing all about this next one happening this weekend, well, it’s hard for me. My friends who have also moved on are coming back, just for the show. But, see, I made the choice to move to a different country for my schooling, so I can’t. Don’t get me wrong! I’m so excited for the cast of this year’s show and I don’t regret the decisions that I’ve made to get here.
But at the end of the day, I just miss everyone of those dear people in my life, and all of the amazing things that were a part of my “sort of” acting career.
Prayer: Pray for the cast of “The Ever After” who will be performing 4 shows at Hershey Free this weekend. Help them to do their absolute best, work their hardest and submit it to God in prayer. Pray that this experience will have the same profound effect on them as it did me.