Too many times people sit and wait for life to happen. Sure you can sit there and save money for weeks. But what about hopping on a plane to a new destination and seeing a city or a country you have never seen before. Everyday can be a new opportunity to learn about something new, experience a new food or be the beginning of something unforeseen and exciting. This past week my dance adventures sent me flying to New York for another dance competition. It was my first trip to the city that never sleeps. There is most definitely a reason that they have dubbed this bustling city with such a fitting disclaimer. The city has such a heart and an energy that never seems to stop. So many people fill such a small space. We’ve all heard the rumors that people from such a big city can be so unwelcoming and far removed from my accustomed southern hospitality. I found that to be quite the opposite. Everywhere we turned it seemed we found someone that was more than willing to help us out, by offering some advice or directions to where we needed to be. I have found that there are people everywhere that want to and do make a difference.
Seeing a Broadway show was a must while we were in NYC. Well in my case, I saw a grand total of three shows while there. There was a quiet beauty that was found in each of the shows that I saw. All three being totally and completely different than the other. Watching each actor come alive as each scene unfolded was a beauty I hadn’t seen in years. To watch someones eyes light up and see a spark ignite as each role was perfectly portrayed, was a moment that I hadn’t seen in quite some time. My favorite views of the theater are from each side of the stage or from the very back of the balcony, there is so much life and energy found in theater. To watch each actor take moment, breathe, and come alive with a zest and zeal that is not always an easy thing to see and take note of in this world.
It made me stop and think about all of the times that I have forgotten to breathe and take it all in. That life is full of that very zest and zeal. Almost as if, so long as I choose too, I can and will always play a part in the world we live in. The saying all the worlds a stage can ring so true. That the choice of what part I play, is mine and mine alone. No one can make me play in the theater, so to speak. It is however a role we can choose to take each day. Be it the villain, the hero, the martyr, the giver, the victim, or perhaps it a mixture of many of these parts that we play.
Now as for the part we choose to play in this world. Each season of life has different parts that are up for grabs. Each talent and skill (aka life lesson) we have learned along the way can strengthen and make or break the part. What we choose to learn from them and how to play the part is entirely up to the said person. Not that any one part is easier than the other. It all depends on where you walk as a person and what drives you in the long run that helps make this walk in this world count for something greater than we ever realized.
How we play each part depends on what we choose. At times we can play the role of the martyr. That we give, give, and give, it is out of our own happiness for everyone else’s. I know that I time and time again find myself doing just this in order to keep the peace and not ruffle any feathers. Sometimes it is easier to let folks walk all over us. Giving is a two way street. You cannot expect to always give with out someone giving a little of themselves in return. Other wise the only part you have left to play is the one that is self centered and you can only take, take and take. What joy is found in only taking things from people. A true sense of happiness can never be found in just taking from others. A happy medium must be found between the two at some point. In this, contentment, happiness and at times true fulfillment can be found when we learn the balance of standing up for ourselves and not being a doormat, but also having compassion for others around us. I had the hardest time learning this lesson. I always wanted to give but had learn the hard way that sometimes to always give is not the thing to do. A person still desires to be appreciated and sometimes a simple thank you from the receiving party can mean more than words can say. Not everyone will give back in return. I learned to live with a little more caution and to not always give everything right away. Trust has to be earned and isn’t given quite so easily.
In other seasons of life I have played the part of the selfish person. It is so easy to want only what we want and to heck with whatever it tis that everyone else wants. To have one’s wants, needs and desires filled to a “T” is never not, a wanted thing. However we can fall so easily into what it is that seems so attainable, that we no longer see past our own nose and no one else seems to matter much. That is when life pulls us up short and we don’t aways get what we wanted so badly in the first place. I struggle at times to not put my goals, wants and the desires of my heart as the first priority in my life. God and God alone deserves such a place in my life. It is at my weakest that I have to put Him before everything else. Sure I like to think that I can make it all on my own and that I don’t need help. I after all am a strong and independent woman. I can do it because I am strong. But in truth I am quite weak. Then again maybe the greatest strength is found in our biggest weaknesses . If all I did was rely on me and me alone I would never move forward, let alone learn new life lessons. Admitting that you can’t go it alone takes greater strength than we all realize at times. It may feel like weakness when we walk the road that takes us to such places but it takes great strength to climb out. Sometimes we all need a helping hand. Being reminded that we don’t have to have everything we always thought we wanted keeps us humble and keeps life real. It keeps us driven to push onward to yet again bigger and better things than we ever imagined. For each door that closes there is another one just around the corner waiting to be opened to all new adventures and life experiences. We never open the door alone.
Now where do these roles play into real life? Every role has a purpose and place in life. We all take turns in each role. How we play them and when we play them is up to us. I like to think of certain times in my life like giant photographs. A snapshot is taken of what we learned and what part we played in each individual people’s lives that we have come into contact with. What did we do when the chips were down. Did we help pick them back up or scatter them further down the road? Did we stand up for what we believed in? Did we love whole heartedly when given the chance? Each photo has a different caption and different pieces to life that were played. All of them playing a part that are so important and intertwined. You never know what effect you have on one person. They could have been thinking ten seconds before you decided to tell them that they mattered, that they didn’t and that no one would miss them if they were gone. The lady you just said hi to, just had her day made because for just one small moment she was important. I’ve been to many of these places myself. Not always playing the same part. I do know that each part is meant to played and what we capture in the photo relies only on us and to the perfect moment that we were called, to make the difference. Do we listen to the calm and steady calling to be the light in the world that we walk in? We have the choice to make someone’s day infinitely better.
So here is to a week of photographs. Here is to all parts we are meant to play and to all people’s lives we get to touch. Love always, laugh often, live every moment like it’s your last. You never know where one step forward can take you. The role you play is entirely up to you. May it be one that is full of zest and zeal for life!! May we always have the sense of excitement and want to find more in this life than we ever thought possible.