Friday, March 9, 2012

Act III, Scene II

"Just give me a stage," I've often said.  Perhaps that is one reason I enjoyed teaching high school English.  I was front and center on stage everyday.  

My love for the stage began in high school when I joined the drama club and began to audition for high school plays.  My favorite class my senior year in high school was drama.  That year, I had a leading part in several plays.  

Perhaps, my love of plays and acting were one reason why I was drawn to the poem below by Madeleine L'Engle the first time I saw the title in print during the 1980's.  On my first reading of the poem, I found myself relating to what she had written at a very deep level.  

*The Main Characters in  My Life
My Cast of Thousands

"Act III, Scene II"
                            By Madeleine L’Engle

         Someone has altered the script.
        My lines have been changed.
        The other actors are shifting roles.
        They don’t come on when they’re expected to,
        and they don’t say the lines I’ve written
        and I’m being upstaged.
        I thought I was writing this play
        with a rather nice role for myself,
        small, but juicy
        and some excellent lines.
        But nobody gives my cues
        and the scenery has been replaced.
        I don’t recognize the new sets.
        This isn’t the script I was writing.
        I don’t understand this plot at all.
        To grow up
        is to find
        the small part you are playing

in this extraordinary drama
written by somebody else.

When I first read this poem, I was just going through a divorce I did not want and it seemed my life was upside down.  Suddenly, the part of wife and mother I thought I would play throughout my life was being ripped away from me.  The story of my divorce 30 years ago, and the subsequent fall-out from that divorce, are not the topic of this blog post.  That is a story for another day.  

This poem spoke to me all those many years ago because I realized I had limited control over the script of my life.  Even though I fancied myself an author who was writing a stage play that I thought I rather liked, I learned that the other leading character in the play did not like his role, or perhaps he didn't like the lines I wanted him to speak, or it might have been the final outcome of the play that he did not like. In the end, the author of the play, that would be me, had to do a rewrite.  

The script of my life that I thought I would write hasn't really gone the way I had it in my head even after I started working on the re-write.  I had no idea of the joy and the tragedy that be included in my new script.  Lately, the characters have been shifting in the major and minor parts that I thought they would play.  Believe me, "I don't understand the plot at all."  I think I am beginning to really understand the last few lines of the line of the poem.  I am coming to accept my part in this grand drama of life.  

I have a very small part.  I can't write the script.  I can't even direct the production of this drama.  I can't write the parts the other characters who share the stage with me are playing.  

Thankfully, I continue to fully trust in a Sovereign power who has control over the entire production.


*This family portrait shows the entire Wessely-Christiansen family.  The group includes all of my husband's children, sons-in-law, and grandchildren, and all of my children, sons-in-law and daughter-in-law, and my grandchildren.  Only one daughter-in-law is missing because she was studying out of the country when the portrait was taken.  This portrait hangs in our family room.  I used Shoe Box 1000 Memories to take the photo of the portrait which was originally photographed by Portraits by Leslie in Pueblo, Colorado.