Real Life "Opening Nights" require trust and letting go (even of applause.)
Today the Lead with Grace podcast launches. It's always a bit of a tricky thing to launch a creative project. Months of effort, of blood, sweat, and tears culminate in something that is only really understood through experience. Unless you actually have been involved in the process, it may seem simple or effortless. This "opening night" feeling is familiar and complicated. The process of birthing a show into the world is filled with not only the predictable work but also with private battles that often people don't see in the final result. The disappointed chorus member, happy for her best friend playing the lead, still feels sad she didn't get the part she wanted. The long hours of rehearsals of late night finishing homework or studying lines. The teenage boy cast in a musical for the first time and worried what will happen when his friends see him dancing on stage. The frustration that even after all that work, your voice cracks on the high note or the microphone gives out when you nailed your solo otherwise. The only thing to do is trust and let go of the results.
Experiences Evoke our Character
While our creative projects are meant to be shared and a transcendent magic connects creator and audience, creative projects are so much more than the project themselves. Joseph Campbell in his interview with Bill Moyers explains how our "hero" adventures can evoke a quality of character we hadn’t known we possessed. While we might not be heroes in the traditional sense, real life "opening nights" can be opportunities for us to acknowledge our own growth through processes of struggle and challenge in pursuit of something meant to be shared.
Real life "opening nights" can be opportunities for us to acknowledge our own growth through processes of struggle and challenge.
The opening nights I have attended have all been joyous though filled with some excited jitters. All the collaborators, directors, choreographers, and designers celebrate together. The fact that every mom, dad, grandma, aunt, uncle, and next-door-neighbor is cheering on their loved ones definitely helps mitigate the uncertainty of the process.The cast and crew and all the parent volunteers are all joined together for what is, if fact, a celebration of the culmination of months of work.
I'm not sure if adult life is actually much like that. If our work lives are much like that? How many accomplishments and battles won do we celebrate alone? How many victories, small and large, do we never even share with people because they might not quite understand or no one ever really asked?
Part of letting go of creative projects is also letting go of applause. After all, God's creation ended with Him stepping back, observing the work, and saying it is good. It didn't end with applause or even a pat on the back and an 'atta boy. In fact, worse, we His creation have been so many times disappointing and not living up to His original vision and goal. God created anyway and let go of the results, even though He in his powerful omniscience must have known this future.
How many accomplishments and battles won do we celebrate alone? How many victories, small and large, do we never even share with people because they might not quite understand or no one ever really asked?
The Lead with Grace podcast is intentionally meant to be a vehicle to lift up stories of people doing good work in areas they care about. To acknowledge the effort. To validate and affirm an intentional life of meaning. To gather disconnected people and unite under a framework of the idea of leading, not through the scope of their influence or the numbers of their followers or the numbers on their balance sheet, but by the grace (in all its meanings) they try to tap into.
Thank you to my first guests. Thank you to Mackenzie Madsen who wanted to walk along side me in this. Thank you to my husband for our twenty-one years of living life in all its adventures together. Thank you to listeners, readers, and mentors to come.
Welcome. I'm glad you're here. Let's create.
p.s. (I am not tech savvy-- seriously, back in January, I was struggling with the remote control inputs in our family room TV, so this is a victory, people!!!).