I’m not an actor and have never played a role in a production outside of my chilling rendition as Santa Claus in kindergarten. My lines were delivered with a zeal and conviction that I’m sure is uncommon for 5-year olds.
“Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”
I know, I know… should’ve gone straight to Broadway. But alas, I never returned to the stage. That is until yesterday when our Fine Arts Director at church asked if I would take a part in our upcoming Easter production.
Oddly enough, I’m playing two roles. One I’ll hold on to for another time and one that hits close to home. Dad.
During the play, my character’s daughter is hurt and the family has some trying times in the hospital waiting room. Not knowing exactly how actors conjure up emotions for their parts, I did my best to get the feel for the lines in my head. Turns out, that isn’t where they came from.
As we read the setup for the first tragic scene, I tried to picture it playing out. Looking at the stage where we would be, I glanced at the people who would be in the scene with me and then to the girl playing my daughter… except… when the time came for me to read my lines… her face switched to that of my own daughter.
I almost couldn’t get the words out. Nearly overcome with real emotion, I realized how easy, yet painful, it will be to “get in character.” The thought of my actual child being in that situation and allowing myself to think of it that way, made the whole thing very real and I experienced a piece of life that made me very appreciative of what I have.
In hindsight, it seems silly that I didn’t think of this method to access emotions before. It’s the same thing I use myself and with countless others to bring the Vision of our desired life, alive.
Most of us struggle to see beyond our current reality. The limitations that weigh us down daily prevent us from seeing how things could be different. We handicap our future with our present by thinking, “The things I want are too far away to get excited about.”
The challenge today is to show you how untrue that is. It is likely that the life you dream of has huge, magnificent things and events. After all, it’s your dream life and it should be different in some way from your current life. However, the trick to experiencing that life now is to find the link between your current reality and your dream.
If part of my dream is to be wealthy, it’s important for me to understand what wealth represents to me. I’ve never met anyone who ultimately wanted the houses, cars, etc. that most associate with wealth. When we break it down, they usually want a certain emotion or feeling. Security, significance, or freedom might be the core element represented by wealth.
Our job is to find the parts of our life now that represent those same emotions. Your family’s love could make you feel secure. Perhaps the admiration of your peers for a particular talent gives you significance or making the decision to take your family out to eat for no particular reason helps you feel free.
At first, these might seem unimportant, but the truth is that these smaller events are what allow us to see that the bigger picture is possible. It is also our choice to be grateful for these moments in the now that fulfills us as we accomplish bigger things.
By taking these moments for granted we are placing the importance on the “thing” in the future instead of what it represents. If you can’t enjoy an afternoon at the local park with your children, what makes you think you’ll enjoy a week at Disney? It’s an unrealistic expectation that is begging to disappoint you.
“I’ll work my tail off and sacrifice like crazy to earn the money, because a huge trip to a theme park will build the lifetime of memories I haven’t built so far. I go crazy with all of these requests to play catch in the yard or watch their little plays, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy a solid week of spending time with them at a place designed to make their heads spin.”
Sorry for the tangent, but it happens so often. We don’t embrace what is in front of us because we devalue the things in our possession. The faulty logic is, “If I can envision a better life that must mean I’m not happy with anything I have now.”
The exciting truth is, it’s because of the things we have now that we can see the possibility of a better life! We don’t have to wait until the race is finished to enjoy the ride. We don’t sing songs just to get to the end of them. It’s the singing that brings the joy.
It’s the moments right now, which can be magnified later that bring the joy we seek. Tap into the those moments and use them to get in the character of a grateful and growing example.