Monday, April 13, 2015

Children's Letters to God

Today I relived a piece of my childhood. I was trying to think back through all of the theatrical performances I had been a part of over the past several years, and somehow ended up listening to the cast recording of the first play I had a major part in, Children's Letters to God. For those of you who don't know what that musical is, well, you can take my word that it is a heartwarming, hilarious, and all-around fantastic story that will always be very dear to me. Yes, I might be a bit biased, but I don't really care. I will always love this story.

The musical revolves around the lives of a group of kids who are going through life together. They are asking questions and trying to find the answers, and so, as might be expected, they turn to God with those riddles that they want figured out, hoping that He will be able to solve it all for them.

Listening back through the songs--the beautiful, nostalgic songs that defined a time in my life that I was just discovering who I was--I felt like I was going to simply break down crying. I didn't, mainly because I was at school, and that probably wouldn't have been a pretty sight to see, but throughout the entire time I listened to the songs, my heart was heavy with both joy and sadness. Joy at the happy memories that listening to the wonderful music brought back to me, and sadness at both the nostalgia of those days and the slightly bittersweet nature of the play itself.

In the musical, I played a thirteen year-old boy named Brett. This boy was the oldest and sort of the leader of the group of friends, and he came from a divorced home. It was one of my favorite characters I've ever played. This kid, he was so hurt, and he just wanted answers from God, or anyone, as to why his life was changing so much. I don't think I truly understood how poignant the entire musical was when I was in it, but now, five years later, I am truly appreciating how deep and intricate Children's Letters to God is as a dramatic presentation, and also how much being a part of it meant to me.

Not only was the play itself fantastic and touching to both the actors involved, the rest of the people in the production, and the audience enjoying it, the entire experience of rehearsing, performing, and preparing for the musical was such an amazing time for me. I met so many great people by trying out, and the process of getting to know them over the months we practiced, I wouldn't trade for the world.

Some of you might be confused as to how a silly play I was in when I was fourteen could have any lasting impact on my life. I don't really know how to explain it. Part of my life began on that stage. It was one of the first times I really understood what I wanted from my life, and I what I was willing to do to get there. And I will always be incredibly thankful to everyone who was a part of that production, and everyone who has ever pushed me to be the best that I could be.

So, thank you to Spotlight on Kids, the local community theatre group that I have been a part of since Children's Letters to God. And thank you to all the wonderful actors that became a part of my life through that experience, and who gave me so much love, joy, and encouragement as we all tried to figure out how to portray these kids who just wanted to know why.

Most of all, however, I want to thank my mom. For pushing me and my brother to try out for Children's Letters to God. She knew me more than I knew myself. And even though I've figured out a lot more about life since those days five years ago, I still have a lot to learn, and I'm glad I'll have her and my dad to help me through it all.

You see, Brett didn't. And I know lots of people who come from broken families, who are going through so many things that they shouldn't have to deal with. But my parents have made a commitment. To me, to my siblings, to each other.

And together, with my family, my best friends, and everyone else who I am blessed to have as a part of my life, we can go forward with the confidence that God does have the answers to all those questions burning in our minds. And if we trust Him, we'll find the answers. Maybe not in this life, but someday.

That's enough for me.

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