Month: June 2014

The lesson I learned from other Churches.

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All too often we imagine acceptance of other religions boiling down to the “Holy Wars” fought by the Muslims and the Christians in the middle ages. I had not been exposed to other religions, nor was I readily seeking out those areas outside my safety net. As I’ve written; faith is a journey and an exploration of our innermost drives and to seek understanding. That was my desire to partake in my own ‘pilgrimage’. Would I be accepted in these places of worship given my faith and beliefs? Would I somehow be snatched away from my faith, and fall away from following the “true religion” I was practicing and be cast into Hell?! (Okay, the last one was hyperbole.)

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of being welcomed to two fine churches: St. Patricks’ Orthodox Church, and the Church of Latter Day Saints. As a new comer to both places; my first inclination was that horrible 4th grade moment when the teacher implores you to stand and introduce yourself awkwardly. Fortunately for me, Jesters and Harlequins, that was not my lot. Both times my friends who had invited me were wonderfully helpful, and of course, of fantastic quality and character (Olivia, Victoria). I must of course bear witness to my own faith and say I am a practicing Roman-Catholic, and that not everyone is a “fan” of Catholicism. As such I’m sure you could appreciate my doubt and apprehension as to the acceptance of others. But as I’ve said both churches were wonderfully inviting, and the two churches had something in common.

Yes, different religions/different churches are not without strife and flaws of their own, but the essence of faith is: the belief in love, honorable behavior, and a central focus on a benevolent God/being in our lives. Those three principles, to anyone of faith, don’t seem an impossible lifestyle to commit to. At the Church of Latter Day Saints they stressed the morals that a person of Christ should follow: honesty (avoiding stealing, relationships, mistakes, etc.), loving God, and the importance of the family unit. I thought to myself ‘Wow, these don’t seem like any radically new ideas’. In fact St. Patricks Orthodox Church had a wonderful message as well. In their homily Mr. Cardine expressed, openly, his love for his family and how being the child of a priest can be trying at times, and he even discussed a sad highlight of a child’s passing and the community’s out pouring of love and prayer towards the family.

Now, take a second and focus on the principles which I spoke of and think about your faith. Despite the differences in semantics; are we not closer as people of faith then we would like to admit? My point is: we are. There is nothing more empowering and inspiring than to see a team rise up as one. That is what faith is. We come together to meet and to pray as one. We, as humans, make things too complicated with ulterior motives and deception. All religion needs to be is an expression of love shown by a congregation.

In summation, our similarities as people of faith should be what drives us to love one another not tear us apart. If we “love thy neighbor”, moral behavior, and a trust and faith in God will lead us to the right path. No matter where you find yourself in life if you have love for your brother or sister you have love for the one that created them. I hope you find the path that leads you closer to “the Creator”, and may that path be filled with love.

Love. Love. Love.

faith 2

Congratulations Beauty and the Beast Jr.

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I own this picture
I own this picture

I am so proud.

So proud of all the hard work, time, energy, character building, singing, etc. that all of my kids/teens for B&Beast Jr. have done. It is a remarkable feeling creating something from nothing.

Four months ago this wonderful group of young people came out to audition. Over 100+ people auditioned for a role and only 62 were cast, but of those 62 were very deserving and hardworking individuals.

I originally was going to help cast the show only, but then my role transformed into that of a co-director, and I wouldn’t take it back for the world.

We had more than one sold out show, and that goes to show you what putting your heart and belief into people can do.

Congratulations Beauty and the Beast Jr. cast of 2014!

 

PQD: A little Mark Twain wisdom

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belongs to irishviews.com
belongs to irishviews.com

The rose is fairest when it is budding new,

and hope is brightest when it dawns from fears.

Walter Scott

Chains. The common metaphor for what ties us down, hopefully not physically, but mentally/emotionally. I know I had a topic similar to this one in a previous blog, but the same anxiety about the future has reared its ugly schedule book.

There always seems to be a never ending time crunch that we seem to be under. Here I picture Samson and his pillars (oy vey). My recent theater endeavors and work schedule has left me in a blistering, and continual, vacuum that sucks up every last minute of free time. I “enjoy” work six days a week, and community theater in the evening hours. By the time I return home after a day well spent it is already ten at night. The funny thing is: I always saw my father collapse into his arm chair, start up the TV, and almost assuredly fall asleep within the hour. I thought that would never happen to me. Lo and behold; I wake up from drool down my chin and the evening news on…

But I am quickly diverging from my main point. With my work schedule it seems like the time I have to myself is nil. And with that comes a certain amount of stress, because you begin to grow weary without that time to decompress. But I was especially stressed with the shows I have been co-directing.

As of right now I have just finished with Beauty and the Beast Jr., and I have another show about to go up in 6 weeks. As a director the responsibility is that of a quarterback: you pass or fail (pun intended). I was constantly worried whether the kids would be able to pull off a great show, and the higher ups wouldn’t lash out at us for a poor performance. We had so many things to do for Beast that it seemed like we were rolling the mill stone up Mt. Fuji. I had let that anxiety consume my hope for the next day. These were my chains.

There is one lesson that I have learned from this entire mountain of stress: it spawns the most beautiful things. It is because we worry that we wish to succeed. As an actor the common theme is: “if you are not worried about putting on a good show, then you aren’t doing it right”. Okay, that is a bit cliché, but if you think about it, it makes some sense. We worry because we care. I wanted all of those 60+ kids to be brilliant on the stage, and I felt if they failed it was because I had missed some key responsibilities a director. “Will they be ready for opening night?” was a common theme for me.

Come opening night… They were brilliant. All of my fears were eased and it was replaced with hope and joy. It was my profound pleasure to watch as the magic of theater came alive, and afterwards the artistic director of the theater complimented us saying “Children’s theater is easy, but GOOD children’s theater is what we strive for, and that’s what this show has done”. I was so proud, not of myself, but of everyone who collaborated with us to make it happen. As the quote above eloquently puts it “hope is brightest when it dawns from fears”.

My fears were my chains; my hope and optimism, I found, have been the keys.

In this quote the author, Walter Scott, evokes the image of a rose. As we all know: a flower is a gentle and fragile mass. So is our hope at times. We wilt under the pressure of difficulty and close into ourselves under the night of tribulation. But when the sun rises on us there we regain our strength and vigor for life and challenge.

            Today, dear Jesters and Harlequins, I urge you to unlock the padlock of fear with the key of you optimism.

Siena the Great by Bellarose Photography

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Bellarose Photography
Bellarose Photography

I am all for poetic contrast and what better contrast than a snowfall in June, and especially with a beautiful young lady partaking in nature.

Sometimes with this more serious pictures I truly feel as if you are making contact with the person. Of course that would folly to believe that were true, but with such a picture you find yourself looking directly into her eyes.

As if you were looking for some sort of truth about the world…

 

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed” by Bellarose Photography

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Bellarose Photography
Bellarose Photography

A beautiful photoshoot of the soon to be bride and groom.

 

Boats, Relationships, and a little Bible for Spice

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I do not own this picture. belongs to walope.com
I do not own this picture. belongs to walope.com

Smooth sailing. The waves of gentle romance splash gently on loves boat, and you drift gently asleep… CRACK! A second later; you are faced with a Pirates of the Caribbean type whirlpool with lightning bolts as far reaching as the sky itself. What happened; just a second ago you were on the Love Boat, but now it has turned into the Titanic!

Okay, okay so I am being a little melodramatic, but I am an artist darn it all! Anyways, the ship that I am referring to is quite simply the “relation-ship” (pun intended), and the ocean is inevitably the forward progress of time, which is sometimes very coarse and other times peaceful. The person who doesn’t expect to get his/her feet wet in all of these romantic endeavors is foolish. The person who believes they will never be hurt, and won’t hurt, another is just as well. If love was as easy to love our brother and sister what need would we have for laws and principalities? No. The emotions that come all too easy for us are the emotions that are mill-stones around our necks in deep waters. It is: anger, resentment, cynicism, skepticism, melancholy and the other abusive feelings that pass over us like waves.

The wind and waves are rough teachers, but again, life and Mother Nature are not without their timeless advice. The waves are trials that should strengthen the hulls of our love for our significant other, and not weaken that love until our ship springs a fatal leak. The wind of adversity can topple us to one side, but can also be used to power us in any direction we choose so long as we respect its power. The creatures below the sea wait in the darkness for a meal, and they are the lechers that lust after our partners. Warning: do not feed the animals. You see they are there for a reason as well. By keeping our competition in the back of our minds that keeps us sharp for our loved ones, and keep the fire burning within us. Lest we fall asleep at the wheel and be swallowed up like Jonah!

I have a confession to make, and I like Jonah, had to face down my own fears. I recently had to tell my ex-girlfriend a very difficult truth. I felt as if my heart was being pulled towards another woman. I suppose this was a wave crashing into my very own HMS Bad News. I had been battling the winds of these feelings for some weeks, and upon the urging of a friend, I summoned up my courage and said the six words that any sea faring man or woman dread to hear: we need to have a talk. For the longest time before hand; I had wished my feelings to be non-existent for the other person. It was as if I was looking for a life preserver in the face of the incoming tidal wave. I had no idea of the other person liked me or not, and no way to deal with the storm that raged inside of me. So, as the captain of my ship, I did what I needed to do. I told my girlfriend I needed a break to sort out my feelings for the other woman.

Of course, our “relation-ship” hit consequently hit a reef, and all life aboard was banished except two life boats that went their separate ways. She called me later that night to tell me it was over. She didn’t want to, in her words, “play second fiddle” to another woman. I of course apologized profusely, and didn’t fault her for her feelings. Heck, I would have done the same thing in her shoes. I suppose in my heart you can never conquer the very nature of your heart. It wants what it wants and I suppose my ship is still awash in this ghastly river. The point I am making is this: honesty in a relationship and to you is paramount. If there is only one side of oars working then you will only be guided into a discombobulated spin. But the feeling of honesty is comparable to a feeling of lightness after the yoke has been lifted. Both of us have by now moved on, so I think, to safer waters.

I have now harbored my heart back at home where it needs to be, and had this profound time of reflection. It saddens me to know that journey of our relationship is over, but the ripples in the water behind me still remain, and for that I am happy. Only a bitter man looks back on the journey and hates where he has been when he has led a good life. As the Bible tells us; no matter what: love they neighbor. That has taken me a few years to fully understand, but with this most recent parting of sea-farers, I have learned to forgive myself and others much more fully. Like, I told my good friend, whose ship fell on bad weather, do not hate her or poison her memory but love her and the memories you shared. Human nature would dictate that as a Herculean effort. Take the time to center your ship and get your head above water, but you need to let go of the pain you hold in order to forgive. You will be amazed at how wonderful the feeling is.

So, my Jesters and Harlequins, if I haven’t “sunk your Battleship” with all of these ocean metaphors, then I sincerely thank you. I would just encourage you today to center YOUR “relation-ship”, to reconsider one that will not suit your future journeys, and let go of a ship that has already left the port, and as God forgives so too should we. I hope you find yourself in open waters and with clear skies. God Speed.