The world can be a stage all right, but that doesn’t mean
we’re always actors.
So went my thinking after the pastor at my church got
sick suddenly and wanted me to take over her
ministerial duties.

The first job the next day was to conduct a renewal of wedding
vows at the Anacortes Yacht Club, the next town over.
She had the service typed out. All i had to do was read it.

If I were an actor, I would be assuming my pastor’s personae,
acting, presenting the material as she would have.
But my job was only to convey her words, not to act but to
perform, thank goodness, bringing my own warmth,
my own style, to the 100 people in attendance.

I noted the challenge. Her words were not my words. Her
breathing pattern and word choice not mine, but inching me,
nevertheless, toward acting in clumsy imitation, particularly
when I’m telling her joke in writing.

Such a relief the next day to know I was a mere performer,
conducting the Sunday service, but how hard to pull it off.
Reading her words in prayers and sermon, both so personal,
kept drawing me in, wanting me to convey the depth of
her feeling, pulling me to enactment.

In the end, I knew that what I initially thought was true. The
world is a stage all right, but most of us will be mere performers,
not actors, hardly able to play ourselves.


Endnote: I see as our challenge today to become exactly that: to become actors, to play ourselves, to become the complete, whole, beautiful, human beings we are, alive with promise. I’m uncertain about many things but on one issue I have no doubt. We have within us the power to change. Our job is to tap into it, to discover it for ourselves, to leave behind the digital distractions, at least for some of the time, to focus anew on what’s within awaiting our discovery and a new life.

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