Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Out of the Spotlight - August 31, 2009

Yesterday was closing night at the Pirates of Penzance. Thanks to everyone who came (once, twice, multiple times) – having you in the audience made every performance that much more enjoyable. For those who didn't get to see it, the theater owners and some cast members videotaped a few of our performances. Hopefully I can get a copy. I left the cast party last night feeling bittersweet – the massive time commitment has been frustrating (since I couldn't attend Family Home Evening, missed Church activities, had no Friday and Saturday nights, etc), but I will miss my cast members and the influence we had on each other. I saw some of them grow and become better people, and I hope I've become better as well. I'll also miss everything that goes together with performing – I'll miss standing in the spotlight and sobbing my eyes out and having just the right reaction to make the audience roar with laughter, duct-taping my belt together so it doesn't fall apart, getting actually punched in the face by my fight partner, falling into a trance when I see Mabel, and greeting everyone as they leave the theater. I guess I'll miss a lot. But, just yesterday, as I was driving home, I had a feeling that the Lord would like me to find a way to use performing to build the kingdom.

Since I was little, I've known that people like hearing me sing (for the most part). Only recently have I learned to appreciate my own voice. I've always looked at my ability to sing as a talent to share with others, but that was all. I didn't let it take over my life because I wanted to do something more academic – more productive in my mind – and when I had to choose between voice lessons and anything else, voice always lost. I never had a desire to dedicate my life to it – I mean, my calling in life is to be a missionary, and while music can definitely touch lives, I believe that one-on-one interactions with others really motivate them to come unto Christ. And so I've had mixed feelings recently. I have loved being on the stage, and yet I wonder if I should be doing something else... or if this is the right place for me. How much of my life should I dedicate to performing, if any at all? Should I try out for community theater, or only look for paid opportunities? Or should I leave the acting scene altogether?

Last night I felt strongly that I need to find a way to share my talents with the world – to let my light so shine before men that they may glorify the Lord. Then today I felt the same way. I know that I need to find the right way to develop my talents. But I still don't know how much of my life will be taken up by performing. Even though it's not an academic field, I need to become a better performer so that I can build the kingdom. I don't know exactly how... but it will be some part of my life.

With a new school year, people all around the world are beginning classes, meeting new people, entering new eras of their lives. This is the first time in a long time that I haven't been a student, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. But whether we are beginning school or simply continuing the work that is a daily part of life, each day we have the opportunity to become new people – to wake up and be better. Today I can change. I can be more outgoing, more kind, more friendly. I can concentrate more on the things that matter, and I can change the lives of others. Today I can better determine the will of the Lord for me, in my life, and hopefully I can become what He sees in me. Whether that is a performer or a teacher or simply a developer at the MTC, the Lord will help us.

I know that the Lord has given us each the talents and trials necessary to shape us for perfection. He cares about us individually, and has a plan for us. If we will turn to Him, He will guide us on the path that will help us learn to be happy in this life and in the life to come. Find your own pathway – learn to accept it and love it.

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