I received my answer. Regarding the Callback.
Three times I had been asked to audition, had said no, and received the callback to audition anyway with the location and appointed time to be there.
I had only one impromptu conversation with the producer. And then she had pursued me. I was no longer chasing the dream I had chased for decades. To be an actress. (Why had I chased after it, sacrificed so much, struggled and suffered as I had? To be recognized? To be valued? To be loved?)
Acting had been my calling, I thought. I would find my place in the world and my purpose there, I thought. I would be free, I thought.
It had not turned out that way. And now, after all these years, here it was pursuing me. (Everything in its time, Solomon says. Had my time arrived?)
I had prayed. I had waited and I decided to go through with it. I showed up, took my mark and let the cameras roll, as they say.
I delivered my scene with genuine emotion. My father-in-law had just died in the script. He had apparently been close to my daughter because he had left her some inheritance. I was to relay the message and I chose to do it with a tear.
“This is a comedy you know, right?” The director said when I finished.
I didn’t show my reaction to her question, I only nodded. I’d received no prior direction. I had plenty of versions on how to play the scene tucked away in my pocket, but I had been advised by my husband and sister to just be me. Don’t “do” anything. This is film not stage. They want YOU. Don’t act. Just be you. I knew the difference between method and melodrama.
“Yes, “ I told her. I had known the movie was a comedy. (Kick self, stupid self, so serious.)
“I mean it’s not that this couldn’t be a tender moment in the movie but…I’d like you to try it again taking this approach…
I took her approach.
“And now try this…”
I tried that. It was fun. More fun than I’d ever had back in the day when my emotions were packed away, all neat and tidy like, so I could cope with my young life after love trauma. This was fun, I felt safe. I felt valued. (Is that what I’m still looking for?)
“You are a real actor,” the director said that afternoon as I was leaving. That was enough for me. I didn’t need anything more. I didn’t even need the role.
But when I got the message that I had received it, it felt good. I had let it go after all the time that had passed, but now I didn’t have to live with one more rejection. (That still seemed to matter.)
It had been a dark couple days. If it hadn’t been for my husband, and sister, and two very wonderful friends, the dark might have consumed me. Lights out. Life as you know it, over. See, receiving the news about illness messes with your head and spirit as much as your body. It’s a slow creaking close of a door, not a slam shut. It’s the unknown that always undoes me.
But it’s the Unseen that holds me together. And that week, the Unseen was at work. I was loved back into the Light.
I woke at dawn the third day with a sense of peace, and joined in on a 5:30 weekly prayer call that’s part of my Leader’s Bible Study group. When asked if I had a prayer request, I said, Yes, to hear God’s voice and follow it.
When our time ended, I set my phone down and sat still in the blessing, realizing how over the past two days I had been prayed back into the Light.
And that’s when the message popped up in my email. I think I audibly sighed, relief. I hadn’t been rejected.
Several hours passed. I packed for an upcoming trip with a sense of excitement. (Had the film brought me back into the Light…?)
I sent off a note to the producer that I would accept the role and continued packing when the thought snuck in…had I asked God what He thought…? I had felt God with me, hadn’t I? But I hadn’t stopped and asked Him. I had turned down the audition three times, hadn’t I? But now I was wondering…I forgot to ask You!
I was crushed. And told Him so.
The question in my heart wasn’t about doing the film or not per se, but of doing God’s will or not. That’s all that matters now. When I felt hopeless, nothing mattered. He is what matters. So I’ve stayed in His Word and I wait for the next step each day.
I know too well that when the darkness of despair descends, there’s always the temptation to find a quick way out. Each petal of a rose unfolds in its time. You know, you can’t force a bud open or you’ll ruin the rose.
God will let me flame the kindle of my own fires. but there are always consequences. The prophet Isaiah gave me a picture of that this morning:
‘Who out there fears God,
actually listens to the voice of his servant?
For anyone out there who doesn’t know where you’re going,
anyone groping in the dark,
Here’s what: Trust in God.
Lean on your God!
But if all you’re after is making trouble,
playing with fire,
Go ahead and see where it gets you.
Set your fires, stir people up, blow on the flames,
But don’t expect me to just stand there and watch.
I’ll hold your feet to those flames.‘
I didn’t want that. What could my little fires produce anyway, except rings of ashes in the morning. God’s fire–His radiance in a life–refines, tests, and purifies. His fire brings with it the desire to heal and restore and that’s where our own healing is found. That’s the fire I want in me.
So had I prodded the petals prematurely? I don’t know. Maybe. But what I do know is God’s Presence. He says, Come. Just as you are, and find rest in my Presence. He doesn’t say, First you need to cheer up, do a little more work, have a little more confidence, a little more faith, more discipline, more well-being, more blessings, more hope, or even more prayer.
He says, Come.
He says. Rest. You are recognized, valued, loved.
As the Sun rises, thwarting the sharp daggers of the night, a spark of joy will arrive with dawn. Don’t miss it. Awake to His Presence. He gives the oil of joy for mourning, and for every need, He is enough.
And as you wait, shine like a star in the night, hold firmly to the Word of Life.
He says: I am the light of the world. whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
Isaiah 50:11 (MSG); Philippians 2:12-18; John 8:12
Feature Image Photo Credit: Jeff Zmania