I went to see the Red Hills Players production of A Christmas Carol today. As the allegorical twins “Want” and “Ignorance” swirled around Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present, I was struck by the role each one, but especially Want, has played for me this Christmas.
I auditioned for A Christmas Carol in early November. We had to sing a traditional Christmas Carol, and I had chosen O Come All Ye Faithful. I wanted to be involved in this production. To quote Laura Kelly Fanucci, who wrote the lovely devotional, Longing Together, my inner dialogue was I want, I want, I want.
Although the basic want was to be involved in the production, what I actually wanted was more complex than that. I wanted to belong.
The challenge of social media is that we often feel more familiar with people than we really are, and that’s where I found myself with many of the people who would have been my castmates. In my mind, spending the time it takes to bring a production to life had the potential to bridge the gap between that surface familiarity and hopefully create a more intricately woven bond.
In all this wanting, I lost sight of the fact that a production first and foremost can only select the best of the best (as it should be), and I saw in the mirror of my psyche someone who feels very disconnected from her true self.
I may have thought participating in the production would cure that disconnect, but as November rolled over into December, I realized:
I had been ignorant of how rewarding it would be to focus on the community service project I coordinated for my Toastmasters club. In this joint project with the Leadership Toastmasters Club, our two small clubs came together to have a big impact for a local resident who moved to Tallahassee then promptly had to have surgery and a long rehabilitation. With no rehearsal conflicts, I was able to be at her home when we delivered a sturdy, beautiful dresser for her bedroom (thanks to a friend who donated it), as well as sheets, towels, fresh fruit, and a Walmart gift card to help her and her teenage son through the challenges of this time.
I had been ignorant of how many times I am reminded how much my running friends have my back. Free from the demands of rehearsals and performances that the production would have involved, I have been able to indulge fun meals (with adult bevvies), run to the Christmas lights in Oven Park and make a new friend, and go to our Gulf Winds holiday party and dance the night away.
I was ignorant of how moved I would feel when being hugged by the mom of our Badass Fitness Christmas Connection family, how stellar it would feel to pull up in front of her home and see Santa knock on her door and tell her 4 year old HO HO HO. The fact that her teenage daughter shares the same name as my deceased mother-in-law Barbara was not lost on me. It was a good day.
I have sung the first verse of this song many times this November and December, first for the audition, and then because I was so dissatisfied with my performance at the audition that I improved it with the help of the highly talented and flexible Rachel at Music Lessons Express in order to contribute it to the Ninth Annual Blogger Christmahanukwanzaakah Online Holiday Concert.
“O Come All Ye Faithful” exhorts us to pursue a place of adoration:
O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
The song doesn’t say:
O come let us adore the sound of our own voice (fortunately!)
O come let us adore the idea of what we think will make us happy
O come let us adore other people who are equally as fallible as we ourselves are
O come let us adore those eggs that we have been methodically and hopefully putting into our own baskets …