Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fifty-seven going on Seventy-five

So tonight is opening night of the Prairie Players’ production of The Sound of Music on the stage of the William Glesby Centre. When I auditioned for one of the nuns way back last winter, I questioned my sanity. The argument in my head went something like this:

Killjoy Me: Are you nuts? You KNOW how tired you are.
Dreamer Me: Yeah, but it’s The Sound of Music! At 57, when will I ever get another chance to do this?
Killjoy Me: You KNOW if you’re not in bed by 10 pm you turn into a zombie! How are you going to stay at the theatre until 10:30 or later every night?
Dreamer Me: I’ll take vacation time from work so I can sleep in the next morning.
Killjoy Me:  You KNOW you need to sleep every afternoon or you can’t get through an evening.
Dreamer Me: But it’s just a little part!
Killjoy Me: There are no small parts, dummy, only small—
Dreamer Me: —Shut up! I’m going for it.

And so I did. And I won a nonspeaking role as one of the nuns. Perfect. 

I soon realized I was the weak link in the alto section and would not be missed if I got hit by a truck on opening night. But that only served to emphasize the privilege of participating in this classic production.

So I’ve done everything I can think of to conserve energy. Took a week's vacation from work and from writing—except for this post. Skipped church. Been sleeping late every morning and napping every afternoon. And I’m still exhausted. I console myself by the fact that I am the oldest of the nuns and nearly the oldest in the cast.

Then I find out some of my co-actors—with much bigger roles to play—are putting in full days at work or school plus evening rehearsals. Seriously? How is that humanly possible? And suddenly I feel like I must be a hundred and three. In the five years I’ve been fighting with lung issues and their associated energy drain, I forget this much fatigue is not necessarily normal. I’ve grown used to managing my schedule around the need to sleep, much like a parent of a toddler must do. How humiliating. Ridiculous. Discouraging. Frustrating. I decide this will have to be my last production.

And then I see this meme that says “Old is when you give up. Until then, you are spectacular.”

And then I hear this line from Psalm 121 that the Reverend Mother quotes in one of the play’s scenes. A modern translation puts it this way:

I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.
He won’t let you stumble, your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s Guardian will never doze or sleep.

Feeling old and exhausted today? Look to your true Source of strength. Sleep if you must. And then go out and be spectacular.