by Selah Seeker
Those words are part of a mission statement on a bronze plaque I pass daily on the wall of the dorm where I am staying for a month in Chicago. Elements Theatre Company is studying for the next several weeks, expanding our repertoire to include the works of Henrik Ibsen and staying at Loyola University. What a gift! We who daily embrace all things Benedictine are enjoying the hospitality of this Jesuit institution as we seek to expand our understanding of Ibsen’s canon and learn new skills – skills that on this educational retreat (following previous trips to London and NYC) include stage combat – wow! Can’t wait for the swords and shields! I’ll keep you posted as the month progresses.
Don’t get me wrong — I am anything but a big bundle of love walking around — but I guess my conclusion is, I’d rather wake up in the morning asking, “How am I going to do all the things I have to do today?” than “What am I going to do today?”
Much work and care culminated once again in this summer’s Charity Auction set up beautifully in a large tent by the bay. God was very good to send favorable weather, and many hands – young and old – were active in putting it on to raise money for the needy and for the arts. Time, talents, gifts, money: they all make up parts of our lives and we collaborate with the Lord in making them useful. So it’s good to celebrate what He’s doing in our midst by continuing what we’re doing as best we can.
So, we were reading Ibsen’s play “The Lady from the Sea” last night in preparation for Elements’ study trip to Chicago in August. Towards the end of the play, one of the characters defines the word terrifying as “something that is frightening – and fascinating at the same time”, and I found myself today with that phrase rolling around in my mind. I started a new job a week ago – actually it’s something I have been involved in, off and on since High School, but this time feels different. I think that’s what was catching me – it’s “frightening and fascinating” – embarking on something new in life… Amazing how we humans can feel so many emotions at the same time. And when you think about it, they actually both feel rather the same – that butterflies in your stomach – roller coaster drop feeling – that makes you want to gasp for air and laugh with glee at the same time. Well…..here goes…..!
This weekend was full of excitement! I sang with the choir in Evensong and Eucharist Pentecost services, marched in a Fife and Drum Memorial Day Parade, finished one of my last weeks of school, and helped with Elements Theatre Company’s performance of “The Dining Room”. I styled hair with my mother and sister (hence the salon name we gave ourselves, “Tingley’s Tresses” or “Tingley sTresses” depending on the situation). It actually went a lot better than I thought — given that it’s a mother and her two teenage daughters. I learned more about the play, about stage hair dressing, and about the ins and outs of behind the scenes work. I hope I can help with the next play.
Last Friday night I attended opening night of “The Dining Room” presented by Elements Theatre Company. Actually it is my sister-in-law’s dining room – but it could have been my dining room – or your dining room. Sr. Danielle (Grace) could have been my mother (wow — did that bring back memories as I re-lived the reactions of her daughter Carolyn). Brad Lussier could have been my own “Father Knows Best”. The audience (who also played a role in this play) reacted in many different ways. Sometimes what felt very painful to me made other people laugh. Like reading a great book, I find myself thinking of the people in the Dining Room as real friends.
Let him in constancy follow the Master.
There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent
His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.”
We know we at the end, shall life inherit.
Then fancies flee away! I’ll fear not what men say,
I’ll labor night and day to be a pilgrim.”