Friday, January 6, 2012

regrets

Four years ago, we were sitting around a cafeteria table, frantically gobbling down our dinner.  We had a half hour break during an eight-hour rehearsal, and we were starving -- both for food and for fellowship.  As we quickly laughed our way through a series of topics, the question was posed:
If you could do anything else other than what you are doing right now, what would you do?

At the time, I was an actress, on a full scholarship, getting paid to act.  I racked my brain -- there was nothing -- literally nothing -- else I would want to do.  I was living my dream.  


The Illusion, directed by Harriet Power, Villanova University Theatre

I half-heartedly answered, "Museum curator," although I knew it was basically a lie.  Acting was IT for me.  I had finally made it, and I wasn't letting go.

The Illusion, directed by Harriet Power, Villanova University Theatre

Or so I thought.  

Because that summer, I gave it all up -- lock, stock, and barrel, as they say.  

And do I regret it?

Ah, that's the million dollar question.

Because sometimes, I feel it.
I feel the pain of tearing a piece of yourself away -- I feel the familiar wound.
And out of nowhere, sometimes I feel something more --
a twinge of envy boiling up inside me.
I glimpse into a life I could have had -- and a part of me still wants.
A part of me mourns for what I gave up.


And then: a reminder hits me -- He whispers softly into my ear --
What about your daughter?
It was that, or your daughter.  You chose your daughter.

And it's true.  No, really.  I couldn't have had both -- at least, not the way I am wired.  Maybe someone else with another constitution, but not me.  Theatre became my life -- inside and out, upside and down, and every-which-way you could possibly imagine.  I had given my soul to every character, every play, every director, and by the time I was 24, I had nothing left inside me.  I was a shell walking around.  I didn't even know who I was any more; all I had inside me were the characters.  It became apparent that I could not have both career and family, and so I chose.  


And the fact is that God told me to step away.

It was right before class.  I couldn't take another hour inside the theatre building, and so I climbed a tree instead.  And there, God met me.

"God, what am I supposed to do?"
Why do you keep asking? - I've already told you.


And deep within me, a song by Sara Groves rose up: "It's your chance to stand up and tell the world you've gotta rest awhile."


I didn't go to class that day.
I withdrew.
And I haven't gone back to theatre -- at least, not the way it used to be.

And if someone asked me today if I wanted to trade in my life as disciple-of-Christ/wife-to-Elliott/mommy-to-Gwen for the dream acting job, I would emphatically say no.


With no regrets.

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