Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"What's Your Story?"

It's been a long time, I know, and I still don't really know what to write about, but I'm in one of those moods, and I wanted to get something down. It seems like not much has happened since last I wrote. We had our first Arts Group presentation soon after my last post, and it went over very well. We had Christmas and New Years. I wrote a Mafia Murder Mystery party, and our group of friends went through it on New Years, and it was a huge success. Since then, life has kind of just gone by.

The Arts Group is now planning a new presentation event, centered on the theme entitled, "What's Your Story?" Our first event was on the theme of Freedom, and while it was great, we wanted to move into a different approach to art. After hearing my brother speak at church over Christmas and talking about my parents' church "telling each other their stories" as a vital role of community, we decided we wanted the arts group to do something a little more intimate. We wanted to do something that forced the artist (or pseudo-artist) to delve deap into their experience and inner person and communicate their story with the community. We wanted to tell one another the intimate core of who we were and what we've gone through.

For this event I am actually working on a puppet show. Strange as that may sound, it's something I've been wanting to do for a long time. It just so happens that the pastor of E-vin and his wife are pretty much experts on puppets. We've been spending the last few weeks working hard on making puppets (not just for my show - there's a lot of interest in utilizing them for children's activities). It's a little difficult for me to visualize "telling my story" through a puppet show, but my ideas are coming together just fine, and I think it will work out.

So what, you might ask, is my story? I hesitate to share, if only for the people who might see the puppet show and miss out on the suspense. But I think I need to:

When I was in High School, I remember going to a play at the Chanhassen dinner theatre. I don't remember what the show was or what it was about. All I remember was that at some point, the leading male role did a song and at the end of the song he had his arms spread wide, soaking in the applause of the crowd. I thought to myself at the time that that was what I wanted. I wanted to play a great leading role, be a hero, maybe kiss the girl, and soak in the applause of an appreciative crowd. I think there's a difference between mere vanity and truly relishing the moment, and I now see nothing wrong with this desire. My senior year in High School, I played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. Now you might say that this was just high school, nothing special, not anywhere near the big leagues. But you need to understand that I still get comments to this very day about my performance in that play. And the scale is not really the point anyway. The point is that I got a great role, played it very well, and at the end of "If I were a Rich Man" I had my hands up in the air and I was soaking in the applause of an appreciative crowd. There may have been no kissing girls involved, but the heart of the idea was there. I saw myself in the spotlight and it came to be.

When I got to college, I had a conversation with a guy who was a senior at the time, when I was only a freshman. I remember very well that he told me when he first got to college, he thought he would be the big man on campus, leading all the great Campus Ministries and heading up vibrant activities. But it didn't happen. It was like he was telling me, "I'm nothing special and neither are you." I journaled recently, "In college I started to believe I was nobody special, and I thought I was learning to be humble. I want to believe once again that I am destined for great things."

When we are young, many of us are told that we are special, that we're raally going places, that God has great plans for our lives. Then many of us go off and meet people who have become jaded through disappointment and failures. And they'll tell us how they used to think like we did and how "life" showed them otherwise. We start to believe that maybe our parents just thought we were special because of how much they loved us. Maybe it's not right for us to think so highly of ourselves. Maybe we shouldn't expect great things to happen.

I don't know exactly where I've been since then. I just know I haven't been in a play with my hands outstretched, soaking in the applause of an appreciative crowd. So in the past few years I've been engrossed in the attempt to start thinking positive, and that has led me full circle. I lament the attitude of self-abasement that I absorbed, and I've come to a new strength of faith. I've come to believe that if we are to live our lives in faithfulness to the calling of Christ upon it, we have to believe and think positive. I've been delving into what it means to ask anything in jesus name and believe we've received it. There is a lot of controversy in the church over what that means, but at the very least I am sure that it means we're supposed to dream big and believe. We're supposed to believe in the unseen and we're supposed to live a full life in the spirit of God.

So that's my story, and I'm going to try to communicate it through this puppet show. I'm writing two songs. Cassie is playing one of my puppets named Starla, who will be the voice of positivity and happiness and faith, and she'll be singing one of the songs. And my other puppet is Joe the Vampire, who will be the voice of Mediocrity, cynicism, and self-abasement. It should be fun. I'm really glad I wrote all this down. I'm really enjoying making the puppets, and it's one of the few things happening right now to really mark the passing of time in my mind. Anyway, the presentation is going to be two weeks after Easter, so I've got some time still, but there's a lot left to do. I look forward to it.


jeannine said...

Jake, you're so cool. I wish I could write a puppet show. Anyway, see if you can get it video taped, I'd love to see it!
And... yeah, I think God gives us certain dreams, and/or passions, and he wants us to pursue those things. why else would he put that in us?

CassieU said...

I love that I stumbbled onto you with your positivity and a a blessing to me. and i'm really excited to be involved in your story. I LOVE YOu.

Snivellusly Ozalan said...

This sounds really really good. Is it still planned for two weeks from now? I´m sorry I won´t get to see it. I hope it´ll be recorded...