Real Strange

I need good art. It feeds me. It grounds me. It helps me make sense of the world and my own thoughts. And though I wasn't sure I would make it to see a show tonight, I was able to sneak to the theater after the burial. I missed dinner with Little Mary which is sad -- but I hope we will see each other another time (as she says). I also got to visit with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We ate burgers and cheesecake (because Maine does not have good versions of these things). And we went to see the new rock musical Passing Strange.

I don't know if this will be a Tony winner. I don't really care. I thought it was fabulous. It was intellectual and heartfelt. It talked about God. (Be still my heart.) It had great music. And it made sense of my life right now. Like I said, I need art.

There was a refrain that was repeated at key moments in the show. As the plot unfolded, the story twisted and changed to the tune of a certain refrain. When the character failed to realize the necessary lesson, it was echoed by the band something to the effect of:
Why do you have to ________ when it was just starting to feel real?

The blank reflects the connection to the particular point in the plot -- and I don't want to ruin it for you. So, now I wonder what is real. What makes something feel real? And how often do things not feel real? Let me illustrate.

On Tuesday night, I sat at the head of a table in one of my favorite restaurants with 11 people from different points in my life. I rotated around the table and caught up with everyone. I learned that one of my friends and his boyfriend eloped 2 weeks ago. I lamented with my prayer partner that we both suck at this. But, there seemed to be nothing but good news around the table. There was energy and joy and enthusiasm. I looked over the table at one point and took a mental picture. It is the most beautiful image to have these amazing people all in one place. It was a wonder. And, it didn't feel at all real.

On Sunday, I preached at church. I'm still wondering what happened. The Chapel service was amazing. It was a conversation (as it always is) and God spoke. I was awed. I was mystified. This is why I feel called to these people in this place. The Sanctuary worship wasn't as energetic until I stood in the narthex greeting folks. I was assured that my preaching only gets better. And yet, I used a non-canonical text. No one reacted negatively. Three people asked me if we could have dinner sometime. It was not real. It didn't feel real. It still doesn't feel real.

And yet, this was the perfect moment to carry with me into this bizarre week of vacation where nothing feels real. I wonder if I'm missing something or if the plot is beginning to shift. I wonder if the power of something feeling real is the wonder of feeling connected. I felt connected at dinner in that surreal manner that it seems too good to be true. This was the same feeling that I had after church on Sunday. In fact, I remarked to a friend, "I really don't think that I can do any wrong with these people." I keep pushing gently. They go with me. It doesn't feel real. And yet, I wonder if God is teaching me a little bit about trust. I wonder if this is where my plot changes.

1 comment:

LittleMary said...

am so glad for the recommendation. am always looking for good theater and this sounds perfect. there is nothing better than sitting at table with so many dear people, than feeling like god uses you in worship--and i hope it begins to feel more real with more time. what a gift you are.