Friday, February 13, 2015

How Purchasing a Train Case Was Actually An Act of Faith

Choo! Choo!
Time to get on board the crazy train.
Won't you ride the rails with me?

"Why crazy?" you may be wondering.
Perhaps it's because I have put off writing this post for almost 2 months.
Perhaps it's because I can't understand why it's weighing on me so heavily.
Perhaps I'm simply crazy. :)

When I was a 20 something young woman, performing around the country and sometimes the world, I would look to my left and to my right at the dressing room stations, lights lining the mirrors so every person could get her makeup and hair just right.
And on those long, formica tables, I would glance longingly at the train cases that lined them.
Train cases full of color and powder, fixes and fancies.
Train cases I had never invested in or pretended to care about.

The truth was I couldn't afford a fancy makeup case and told myself that settling for a plastic zipper bag with a faux designer print from the Walmart makeup aisle was all I'd ever need.
In fact, I took it a step further and simply didn't invest any thing into my makeup regime.
During my two summers in Japan, performing all over the country in the grandest theaters, the female cast members would settle in to their stations from 60-90 minutes before the curtain rose - while I, on the other hand, would sit and gab with my guy friends in the boys dressing room.  Then when the stage manager called "10 minutes," I would run to my chair, throw some water on my frizz to reactivate the curl, paint some quick bright red lips and cheeks on and call it a day.
No false eyelashes.
No curling irons.
No effort whatsoever.
One day I did it under in eight minutes.
(Insert applause meter here...)

It really wasn't a big deal at the time.
But looking back, I think the fact that I never invested in a train case - when I actually could have afforded it...or at least asked for one for Christmas - was a confirmation that I wasn't really investing in singing as a career.  I think I subconsciously knew that I didn't have the thick skin it would require to audition and be rejected over and over until I got my footing.  A few short years after those Japan tours, I was fully immersed in directing and teaching rather than singing onstage, only lifting my hidden ban occasionally for a special project or two.

So when my pastor, Father Jim, approached me after church one day last November and said, "You're supposed to be singing again," I didn't place much stock in it.
Father comments on my singing, sometimes embarassingly to the entire congregation, quite often.  The Holy Spirit, he thinks, is winking at him while I raise my voice.
Still, when Father made the comment above, I thought the context was that of singing at church after my voice loss a few years back.
Or that he wanted me to sing with the praise band rather than just act as a groupie.
(Both of my teens and my husband are regulars so I usually sit with them in the mosh pit rather than sit in a pew by myself.)

As I sort of brushed Father's comment off and poo-poo'd what he was saying a bit with a facetious, "Well, Father if you want me to sing, you're just gonna have to take it up with the band director," he stopped me.
Put his hands on my shoulders.
(Father Jim is not a demonstrative person, so this simple act stopped me in my tracks.
That's right, my crazy train tracks.)
He said, "I'm telling you you're supposed to be singing again.
I dreamed it last night.
We were backstage at a theater and you were supposed to go on but you didn't want to.
And I had to push you out there onstage.
I know this dream was a message for you.
And I'm telling you you're supposed to be singing again.
So listen to what He's saying and pray for direction."
Then he removed his hands from my shoulders, patted me on the head like a puppy, smiled and walked away.

CRAZY, I tell you!

Yet that event held a greater significance for me than I cared to admit.
So significant, in fact, that I couldn't address it here.
For to say it aloud to more than just my husband would mean it was an actual calling.
So, as usual, I ignored it and tucked it away for a "better time."

At the beginning of December, I got the call.
The call to sing in "The Magic of Christmas" show, this year a two weekend run during the holidays.
So what did I do?
I said yes.
Then I bought a train case...
after all of these years.
I filled it to the brim with makeup and lashes, silk flowers and brushes.
I brought it to the theater...sang in one show out of eight...
then promptly lost my voice for the rest of the season.

I could have lamented over spending the money to have this piece for only one show.  
But somehow I knew losing my voice, after making the commitment of finally purchasing the makeup case, was part of the lesson.

So, yes, I bought the train case.
And now I'm telling you that I bought it.
I filled it.
And I'm telling you that I filled it.
I heard Him.
I'm acknowledging that I'm supposed to be singing again.
I don't know where and I don't know why.
I don't know when and I hope I can deliver when the time comes.
But I'm ready.
I got my train case.
And I'm listening for the Conductor's whistle, promising not to derail any opportunity chug-a-chug-chugging my way.

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