Last weekend, my daughter and I premiered our play, Wave Me Good-Bye, in New York! The night before, the weather channel issued a flash flood warning for the city, and our theater was located in a basement. I lay in bed fretting about that and all the other things that could go wrong with the production, thinking back on the countless hours of work that had gotten us to this point, pushing away memories of other events I’d planned that had not gone well, and trying to keep my anxiety down.
I recognized, too, that much of the “anxiety” was caused by excitement. This play was the fulfillment of a fantasy in so many ways and I couldn’t wait to see it on stage in front of a live audience. My friend’s words popped into my head, “I’m so proud of you for making your dream come true.”
For just a moment I wondered, is this really my dream? To lie here unable to sleep? Wouldn’t it be far better to go back to my days of sabbatical when I’d cleared my plate of everything I could that caused me worry? Wasn’t that really the dream? To be calm, to be rested, to enjoy free time, to feel less obligation and responsibility?
A line from the song, “Counting Stars,” by One Republic popped into my head. “Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.” And I laughed. It’s so like me to dip into the overly dramatic in order to find the humor in a situation.
There is one way to be present in the world: sitting on a chair with your back straight and your feet firmly planted on the ground feeling the breeze, hearing the birds, smelling the earth and flowers, and feeling supremely grateful for it all.
And there is another way to be fully present in the world: sitting in a creaky chair in a smelly old theater, locking eyes with your talented daughter, seeing your characters come to life on a stage, hearing the audience laugh and gasp and cry at exactly the right moments, and feeling supremely grateful for it all.
We were put on this earth to work and to rest. To take care of ourselves and to take care of others. To achieve and to appreciate. To worry and to rejoice. To love and to feel loved. And to find the beauty and joy in it all.
So today may you (and I) find peace to rest in order to dream and dreams to pursue that ground us.
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