Off the Cliff
The ground gave way underneath her and the phone fell from her hand. Caroline couldn’t believe what she was hearing. He’d lost his job?! The company simply closed its doors with no warning?! She had been out of work long enough that everything was already stretched to the limit. Outstanding medical bills and repairs to their beater of a car, and they had already driven every cent out of their bank account. They were so behind on the mortgage…this just could not be happening.
Love Has a Rope
Her doorbell rang. Stacy didn’t wait for a response but walked on in. “I just heard,” Stacy said. “I’m so sorry, Caroline. This is unreal.” She sat down on the floor beside Caroline and held her. “I’m here, and I’m with you through all of this. You are not alone.”
Love Throws a Rope
Stacy had lost everything through a divorce some years ago. She vividly remembered the day she packed her two kids, and everything she could, into her car and headed to the women’s shelter. She, herself, wasn’t in the clear yet but was definitely back on solid ground. She knew the potential uphill climb Caroline and her husband were facing and vowed she would be there in any way she was able.
Stacy hadn’t known Caroline back then. Others had buoyed her, encouraging her and providing what she could not for her kids. “I don’t have any financial answers, but I do have life experience and hope. I can help navigate some of the rockier parts of this mountain. I don’t have much to offer, but what I do have is yours,” she said.
Love IS the Rope
Caroline pulled back from Stacy’s embrace. A strange peace seeped into her heart. “I don’t know how that helps so much, but it does,” Caroline said.
Stacy stayed with her that night until her husband made it home. She put a few frozen pizzas in their freezer for when they needed them. She helped make phone calls to creditors. She looked for what was needed and provided what she could. Stacy rallied others just as others had done for her.
Accepting the charity of friends and strangers was unfamiliar to Caroline. She was always the one to put money in the offering plate, not the one who needed to take it out. But she recognized that when you are falling, and someone offers, you only have to stretch out your hand and grab the rope.
Love always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:7
#bethelove #betherope #loveinaction
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“We’ve decided to join the Props Crew,” she said.
I was a high school sophomore. If I also joined the Props Crew, I wouldn’t have to walk home from school by myself, would get to spend time with my friends AND there would likely be cute boys. I was sold.
That one decision changed my life.
Props Crew (which we spelled Crue, after the group Motley Crue) was part of the Oak Park-River Forest High School Theatre Department and, according to the school’s website, it’s still going strong today. I met all kinds of new people and got to use cool things like glow tape and glue guns.
The first production I worked on was the musical “Guys and Dolls.” As a new member of the crew I was assigned a couple of smaller tasks, one of which was to move a trash can during a scene change.
During one tech week rehearsal, I somehow managed to not get that trash can moved. Erika, one of the dancers, very kindly took me aside and explained that if I didn’t move that trash can, it would be in the way of her entrance, which was what started the scene. The show literally could not go on if I did not do my job (I have since learned otherwise, but that’s another story).
That was a huge lightbulb moment.
By working backstage I could, for the first time in my life, contribute to something that lived and breathed, affected people and was a different experience each performance.
I was welcomed and accepted. I had a purpose.
We all need to be valued and loved for who we are. We were made to be in relationships—all kinds of relationships. We NEED others who support and encourage us. People are not optional, but integral.
We also need purpose and not just to the betterment of ourselves, but for others. We need to participate in a story larger than our own. We need to be the piece that finishes the puzzle, the thread in the tapestry that allows the rest of the threads to be woven in around it, after it, because of it.
Living in small, egocentric stories, leads to loneliness.
Purpose saves. Belonging saves. Being loved and loving other people save.
YOUR purpose always involves other people.
Constantin Stanislavsky said that there are no small parts in theatre.
There are also no small parts in life.
Move the trash can.
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Creating Systems for Courageous Kindness
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