This past weekend, I had the sheer joy of "working" backstage for Spotlight-Rockford's production of Les Mis.
I say "working" because with my slipped disc, I'm not sure what I've been doing would qualify as work, but I do feel like I'm still a part of things, watching the script and eating the Twizzlers on the table beside me.
Friday night was opening night and it could not have gone any better. The kids put on a powerful, incredible, wonderful show. One of the best I've ever seen...and one of the only ones I've watched from the wings.
Saturday promised two more stellar performances and everyone was totally amped up.
But something funny happened on the way to the stage. One of the leads lost his voice. It just up and walked out on him. And, as a director, my heart stopped for the team that had to jump into action and figure out the best way to handle the situation. As a mom, my heart broke for the kid who had put in hours and hours of work to perfect his role...and I can tell you...he perfected it.
The cast was upset. By now, these kids are a family...it wasn't fair that in the final hour one of their own might not get the "reward" of what he'd been working for.
It all felt so unfair.
I stood by and watched as everyone banded together to figure out the best way to proceed. It just so happened there was someone working backstage who had played the role a few years before. Someone talented and willing.
And then something amazing happened. The kid who was supposed to play the part literally took the other one under his wing and made sure he knew exactly what he had to do, where he had to go and when.
I. was. floored.
I overheard him say, "This is what has to happen for the show."
I know for a fact that when I was eighteen I would not have had the grace to feel the weight of that injustice and respond the way this kid did. I learned SO much watching him--watching all of them--come together to do what had to be done.
See, sometimes God asks us to step out of the game. A game we've been preparing for and planning for. We get passed over for a promotion or rejected from a publisher. We work, work, work and come up short...
And I know my instinct is to complain about the injustice and the unfairness, but what if God wants to use a bad situation to teach me (or others) something important?
It might not make sense and it certainly might seem unfair, but if we trust Him, we know there's a reason for it...and I really believe that while this situation completely stunk, it grew every one of those kids, and likely the parents and team members watching from the sidelines. I know it grew me. I'm ashamed to think of how I would've responded if this had happened to me.
When I'm challenged to sit one out, I pray that I can respond with the same grace that this teenager showed on Saturday. Complimenting his "replacement", even helping him give his best performance...
Truly, it challenged, inspired and more than anything captured the heart of Les Miserables.