I am tired. For good reason this time. This past weekend I spent most of it awake doing the 24 hour musical at ACU Theatre as a co-music director. Which was not the plan for my weekend but one of the music directors caught strep the day before and had to bow out of the show sadly. So—that’s when I stepped into the role as a co-music director. And it was possibly one of my most favorite experiences in theatre I have ever had.
24 Hour Musical, for those who do not know what that means, is when we figure out what show we are doing 24 hours before we perform it. So we learn lines, blocking, choreography, music, lights, sets, costumes, and EVERYTHING in that 24 hour period to perform. As a result we raise money for Living Water International, which is a non profit that builds wells in third world countries who do not have access to clean water.
This year we did Tortoise and Hare by Damon Brown (who is actually an ACU Theatre alumni that gave us the rights to this show for free [thanks again]). This show delves more into the well known fable of the race between the tortoise and the hare, where they race each other and the tortoise is on a steady pace while the hare sprints and then takes a nap halfway through decides to take a nap. As the race comes to a close the tortoise actually wins the race. The musical, however, takes a few liberties with the story and dramatizes it just a bit more, and honestly I think it has an incredible message of love, listening, peace, and community.
During my time teaching the music this last weekend though, I realized that I really loved doing it. It almost reawakened my love for storytelling and creating. Apart from this though, my attention was set on one specific song in this show that I felt had a lot of weight to it (sadly we had to cut it because it was just too much to learn in such a short amount of time). The song was Lighten Your Load, a song where a Hare is training the main Tortoise on not needing to carry everything in her backpack (shell) for the race. This song quickly turned into a metaphor that there are many things that we carry that hold us down that we need to let go, that we have an opportunity to lighten our load. (cue the spiritual metaphor for grace).
While teaching this song I realized how much power this song, as well as many of the other songs in it, had on my perception to continually point to God in all things.
Which right now is a bit challenging to do. This past week was a hard one for me. Our brotherhood at ACU (Gamma Sigma Phi), lost one of our brothers in a car accident, Christian Mattox, on Wednesday last week. To say that many of us are still in shock is an understatement. The seniors in our class pledged with him and got to know him pretty well during our time together in club.
In all honesty, I have never processed death that well. But I have been hit with some periods of high emotion in the last couple days. I just feel that our school has had too many memorials in the last year and every time it just seems to become more and more real of the short time we have on this earth. That the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
I am thankful that I was able to be a part of the 24 hour musical at ACU this year. It ended with a song that encouraged me.
I felt so encouraged by this song, as it really cultivates this idea that we are all in this world together, that regardless of our differences, we all belong. That our citizenship is in Heaven and not on this earth.
And we do belong. Our identity remains to be this: that we are His children. Adopted into the Kingdom before this world was brought into existence.
That even as the world keeps spinning. Our hope remains in Him.