There were things I learned from this season of rehearsals and memorization and being in front of people that I am putting in that pile of life lessons–what it means to be a good collaborator, to put aside differences, whether artistic or personal, and learn to work as a team for the good of the common goal.
Even more important, I’m realizing life is about good relationships and showing up for someone, because showing up is what matters.
When people came out to the play, it didn’t matter so much if they clapped or laughed or thought we were good or not. It mattered that they were there. When people are in the hospital, or there’s a funeral, a birth, a wedding or birthday party, people remember who shows up.
It’s not about having the right words or doing the right thing. It’s about being. Sometimes being with someone says more than anything else.
Our neighbor retired from her job and we were invited to the retirement party. As people told stories about the support and love she had shown over the years, I realized that when you are there for people, that’s what they will remember. They won’t remember how well you typed a newsletter or organized a filing cabinet. They won’t remember your intelligence or how witty and clever you were. They’ll remember that you were there for them.
During the weekend of the play, I had to miss the wedding of a good friend’s daughter. I hated missing the the chance to be present at a life-changing event for a dear family. But when you say yes to one thing, you often have to say no to others, which is why I’m learning to say yes and no to things carefully, considering that one yes often means a domino effect of many no’s. When someone asked whether I will be in the next show in a few months, I smiled and said, “No.”
No is a beautiful word when the world says be productive.
Instead of listening to the megaphones in my head that say get more done, I seek the whisper that tells me to be present rather than productive, to be a team player rather than an individual.
Each day is another chance to practice this, to sacrifice productivity in order to live more fully. To be present and listening. To be still and open to what might be.