Saturday, March 15, 2014

Juxtaposition: The Irony of Parenting, Vocation and Musical Theatre

This winter Emma was cast in her first on stage roll after working tech for two years. She's a senior, and it's sort of a culminating experience for her - four years of show choir, a couple years of track and cross country, and she's found her people with the thespians. This is high school life 101.

Her role? Ah, yes that's funny. We will get there.

The show is Working, based on a book by Studs Terkel. It is a series of really compelling vignettes about the identity (or mis-identity) of our work.  I am not sure that these kids could be fully aware of the tensions they were portraying, of the nerves they were touching.

Emma was cast as Roberta Victor, a prostitute who turned her first trick with a politician at age 15. She's hard, proud, defensive, feisty, vulnerable.

Ok, it's strange to see your own daughter cast as a prostitute. Done up in barely any clothes and stiletto high boots with red laces.  

But the irony?

The role of prostitute is carefully juxtaposed against...   (Wait for it...)

...a fundraiser.


"Where else can you make $500 in just 20 minutes.

I fundraise for a religious organization - a seminary. I consider the work of connecting lives, encouraging generosity, learning about people's passion while securing dollars to do good work to be my MINISTRY.

And the irony doesn't quite stop there.

Our high school is deeply connected to our church, where I served as a pastoral intern and local pastor for a while. Emma is surrounded in this show by her youth group. It is a setting in which she is nearly a PK (preacher's kid).

Life is funny and messy and complicated and sometimes just a little sad and frightening. We share so much with people we cannot imagine being. If we can remember that, I think we have a shot at being more gentle, more compassionate, more real with those around us. 

I am breathless tonight. And I think still processing the cool way God shows us things, makes us real...breaks our hearts.

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