The Merry Old Land Of Oz

We’re off.

To see the wizard, and experience something new, and broaden our days.
Sydni and I have lived at The Steward School in Richmond since 9:00 AM yesterday. Two Friday shows, three today, two more tomorrow after church – then next weekend we do it all again.
There is so much I don’t know about theatre.
There is so much I don’t know about sitting under a conductor.
There is so much I don’t know, and it’s good to be reminded of that.
A few days ago, what I didn’t know terrified me.
Tonight, I have my wits about me. I’ve found my footing – in the music, in the conversation, and in the joy that bursts out of the music and the dancing and the acting and the sets and the costumes and all that combines to make an incredible performance.
Excellence. It honors God and inspires people.
It’s a privilege to participate. And it’s an honor to be stretched.
Syd’s having a blast, but she’s tired. And she’s struggling with some sort of allergy to the makeup she’s using. We have changed everything we can think of, we’re dosing her with Benadryl – but she wakes up every morning with her eyes swollen nearly shut.
Plus somebody dropped a chair on her toe in school last week, and her toenail is falling off.
She’s a trouper; I’m so proud of her attitude and her commitment. She inspires me in so many ways….plus she’s doing a GREAT job in the show!
There’s a possibility that I will have a few extra tickets for next Saturday. If you’re interested, let me know….

Out Of Control


I. Feel. So. Out. Of. Control.

There, I said it.
Not sure what good it will do, but honesty is always a good first step.
And not sure what good it does to air it all in a public forum, but writing for me is cathartic. And so, I will write, and probably hit the PUBLISH POST button.
Fall is always a busy time of year for us. Pushing up towards the holidays (somebody please tell me where October went?) means two birthdays (Daniel will be 14 next week – unbelievable – and Sarah will be 19 in mid-December) with schoolwork ramping up and long-range planning at work and calendaring all sorts of activities – it all equals craziness. Especially for one who is organizationally challenged (as I am).
Side note: I am getting married in five weeks and a few days as well. That brings about its own planning challenges, but the big bonus is that my future spouse is well-gifted in structure and systems. I welcome the balance he brings.
Anyway, what’s prompting this post that reeks of introspection is my current involvement in Christian Youth Theatre – CYT – along with Syd. The weekly dance classes and weekend “Wizard of Oz” rehearsals have proven to be terrific experiences for her. Putting together the shows – they do about four each year – require a ton of commitment and time, and not just for the kids. They ask a lot of the parents.
By default, my contribution has ended up being part of the pit orchestra. On my volunteer sheet, I mentioned that I could serve as a rehearsal pianist as needed. The contracted player for the keyboard coverage of the string parts could not make it, so I got the call.
Because that meant I wouldn’t have to sew anything, I responded gleefully.
That meant nothing more than personal practice time and then giving away my life during tech and show week.
Woo hoo! I love to play, it’s second nature to me, so I was thrilled.
But HELLOOOO!!! Have you seen the music for “Wizard of Oz”? Remember, we are recreating a tornado. And flying witches. And munchkin marches.

This is the most challenging music that’s been in front of me since The Magic Flute at Tarrant County College, when I was pregnant with David.
And it’s eating my lunch.
So I’ve worked HARD – like two hours of practice a day. And I still can barely get by.
And so I go to rehearsal, and meet the conductor – VCU Band Conductor (HELLO???? DO YOU THINK HE KNOWS WHAT HE’S DOING?) and the remaining crew of hired/incredibly talented musicians (with a few parents along for the ride as well) and I am faced with the mind-numbing realization that I am WAY out of my league here.
Hello, humility, and welcome back to my neurotic tendencies!
I can’t keep up. And it’s been excruciating, because it’s not just an issue of, “Go practice harder!” It’s cause to consider just how comfortable I have become in my role as a musician in my job. I’ve been coasting.
And it’s a rude awakening to suddenly realize that this is what my team members feel like when they are not as comfortable with the music or the style of our weekly repertoire, and how they must stress when they don’t have enough time to prepare. Which is my responsibility – to give them time to prepare. Now I know how they feel. And now I realize that I need to make some changes in the way that I do my job.
It’s certainly a good thing to be reminded that the world is a big place. That there are many, many people who are better than you. That you can always – and should – strive to do better, to challenge yourself.
That’s a good thing. It leads to growth.
But it doesn’t feel so good.
This sense of inadequacy really screws with my ability to feel comfortable socially as well, so I’ve spent two rehearsals feeling like I was wearing a t-shirt that said:

“DON’T LOOK AT ME. I’M AN IDIOT.

I’M NOT VERY GOOD AT THIS.”

Syd said, “Mom, just make some friends. You’ll do fine. That’s how I felt for the first few weeks. It’ll be okay.”
And so it goes. And it is what it is. I have stepped out of my insecurity and spoken to a few folks.
They’re very nice.
Undoubtedly, my daughter is right.
It’s not pleasant to realize that, basically, you suck. On top of all this personal chaos is the literal chaos of my house; it is a complete wreck. I can’t find my keys. I have a million piles of paper stacked all over the house. There are bins of summer clothes that need to find their way to the attic. The leaves are piling up. The vacuum is broken. The un-matched socks are crawling towards my bed, planning to strangle me in the night. My sheets need to be washed. The bathroom is filthy.
It’s overwhelming.
But here’s where my faith sneaks in and brings a surprising comfort.

Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. – Psalm 51.16, The Message

I think Syd’s right.
It’ll be okay.