Its still the beginning of the new year and I just looked over last years information ie where I was ,what I did. Fact and figures. Of course there is another story that the " boxscore" cannot tell. Paul Harvey called it "the rest of the story". This story is what keeps me doing my story. The inside scoop. The small that makes sense of it all. The personal. Life is personal, painful ,passionate,...boring at times too.
Like driving on the 40 freeway into LA area from where I live in Albuquerque NM. I always think that's a short drive that is until I am peaked with exhaustion just over the state line into Arizona. Driving, driving, driving, and boredom hits. All the wonderful perks from being a bible -actor are hard to fathom. Another cup of coffee. Thank God for McDonalds there are so many of them .Sometimes I have as many as 3 oatmeals at 3 different times with apple and splenda and of course half and half.
The big thing on that drive is what I call breaking the time barrier. This usually happens after driving 9 to 10 hours and by now I have drunk 3 quarts of water and my strength is back. I am no longer home sick or home either. The time barrier is much more than mountain to pacific time . Its ,..I am going to bed soon wherever I am staying and tomorrow is what counts and where I will be is the place. Don't want to sound corny , but by now God is my home and He and I are chatting along the way. A kind of crashing through " the narrow gate". Crash and I am not tired anymore. A good crash of course.
My film friend Scott is a big help on these trips too. He has energy to talk and when driving to Ca I am a captive audience. Of course I am known to like to share too. We have spent sometimes 2 to 3 hours on one call. Sharing passions and plans and peace. I really love that guy. Did you ever read Working by Studs Terkel? He interviews people from all walks of life. Everyone is saying in his or her own way, "I am more than what I do for a living or more than what social mores and other people tell me who I am."
We celebrated our 12th year in January as Dramatic Christian Ministries- Narrow Gate Theater. I thank God. Our ministry is His outreach to me, us. I remember a 12 year old Stephanie doing a ballet to Sermon On The Mount and Wendy singing Seek Ye First The Kingdom of God. We were a family together in South Bend In. This 1st date Jan 2001 is to me a picture of not only our family, but of family itself. It was for me however, the beginning of not following " the beaten path, but establishing a path others can follow. "Its not intentional leadership as much as finally saying there is no other way to truly have love ..save by being who you are.
My greatest pleasure these days is the Narrow Gate Theater and specifically engaging as teacher with other actors. If I had a "sentence "to describe my passion to students it would be " an actor is an author bringing his story into the one he or she is playing. By playing your part you can discover who "you are "by discovering characteristics you did not know were yours. You have to bring you into it , not your ideas or your ideals, or what should be, ..but bring you into it. Acting is subjective. A lot like God don't you think. " I am the way and the truth and the life". The "I am "wants to meet the who you are. " Lose yourself in Me " He says is the way to find you.
Even our friend Studs from Chicago reveals down deep in his interviews with all kinds of people.. we are tired of looking at others to find out who we are. Jesus who says " lose yourself in Me" knows who you can be, but not if you seek you in what you see in everyone else. Love one another, does not mean copy one another. Losing yourself in Him also does not mean being Jesus ..but being you. Its not for God but from God. Its not playing Jesus , but Him playing you.
Starting a new year is a lot like my 1st drive on Jan 5th to Banning Ca. You start at 0 or to spell it out zero..and you quickly want to add a number to the zero. Income, a good show, a compliment from someone, anything is better than 0 right? By the time I reach Flagstaff AZ which in my mind is part of Abqs neighborhood I am always surprised not only how long that took about 5 + hours but how bored I am. The number 0 at this point looks like a high number because I am below zero. I want to turn back but it took so long to get here. I can stay at a hotel, go home ,or pick up and drive the rest of the way at 3 am. No to all that. Why?? I don't have the money or the time. Its right about here just after Flagstaff I see the sign for Kingman AZ and now I have a plan. I am beginning to see my advantage. I have a plan and a partner. God has narrowed down my options so that its only Him and me. Its not that God is a loner and I am His only friend, but He is showing me the key to personal identity. Limit your options, your resources, your opportunities, associations, get it? Enter through the narrow gate. Its always uncomfortable.
One of the frequent challenges for "the tour" is where I will be staying and or who it will be with. I want you to know I again am fortunate. You may remember the Bates hotel in Hitchcocks movie Psycho in Az , well I have not stayed there. I stay with the "salt of the earth" and all of everyone's dogs, cats ,TV programs ,and conversations ..and love. The key time for me when I get there is to get to my room as soon as I can. I call Wendy check in on Stephanie, hope they are together in church in the am and meditate on tomorrow am. Somewhere in the night, or the next am driving to the church this something comes over me. Its spiritual and its physical too. Its wonderful and its the perk of the narrow gate, the zeros, the minuses that are really huge pluses. Its here I know who I am and I know its not God . He is Himself and He's doing very well at who He is. I am just so very happy in these times and though I am not " there " yet ..it is in these times I know whose I am ,and am sure this is another good " crash" along the road to know who I am.
I trust these times. I have them so often. In serving Him He serves me and I know this is His outreach to me. If I didn't think this was for you I wouldn't bother you with this. I call this the minus that brings the plus. As I tell my fellow actors anyone can have this. Its not in building your resume, or doing something great for God either. Its what's in you that needs to play itself out. Its "play" that finds the passion that is you. A good friend Bill Walters often said to me God is in your passion". What's your passion. Go to zero and find it. Stay at zero and find contentment.
"The Lord Is There"