Monday, June 1, 2009

A Twist of Fate

We had our monthly GCT board meeting last night at Austin's and part of the meeting was spent discussing our process for choosing our summer shows. It was casually mentioned that GCT was denied approval for last summer's first choice, Annie so they went with their second choice, The Music Man.

I've told the story hundreds of times by now, how Erin and I started praying last spring that God would provide the opportunity for us to get more involved in our community and that God answered our prayers just one week later when I found a flyer for The Music Man tryouts crumpled up in the bottom of a Wal-Mart shopping cart. I went to the auditions thinking I'd find a way to be in the chorus and ended up being cast as the lead. That whole story is documented throughout this blog and if you want to read more, just click on the "Gardner musical" labels.

But when the reality of the simple statement from last night, "Music Man was our second choice" hit me last night, I had trouble getting to sleep. What if GCT had gotten permission to do Annie as their summer show? I know I wouldn't have bothered to audition because not only is The Music Man one of my favorite shows but I really don't care much for Annie. And had I not gotten involved in GCT, the following wonderful blessings would've never came into our lives.

1) The experience of playing Harold Hill My co-lead from last year, Caitlin is my "wife" in one scene in this show and as we stood toward the back of the stage yesterday watching the two leads for this year's show, Joe and Celia, working on their lines, a smile crossed my face as I thought of how much fun they're going to have. Even though it was a thrilling experience at the time, I think one year later I have a deeper apprecation for what a privilege it was to play the lead in such a great show. Whenever I watched musicals in the past, I'd see the leads come out at the end of the curtain call and think, "how would that feel." Well, last summer I got to experience it. I have a feeling that as the years go on, I'll cherish this memory even more. Of course, I'll always know the words to 76 Trombones and Trouble.

2) Community I like to joke that GCT focuses upon "putting the community back into Community Theatre. Erin and I have been able to build some great friendships within GCT. Yes, people know I'm a pastor and I have opportunities for spiritual conversations (see below) but there's not the same pressure (very likely self-imposed) that I feel in pastoring TFC. Though I'm a pretty down-to-earth guy among my congregation and though most people don't have me on any type of pedestal, I still never take off the "pastor-hat" among TFC friends. In GCT, I'm just "Donnie" and not "Pastor Donnie" and I'm thinking only pastors can really understand what I mean by that.
Hours and hours together in rehearsals really bring a group of people close together. And you realize how close you've gotten to people when you're reunited after several months. From the baby shower GCT threw for us in February to skiing with the Sasses, we've made some wonderful friendships through GCT and it's hard to imagine our lives without these friends.

3) Some amazing conversations The spiritual conversations started about halfway through rehearsals for last summer's show and I was still having them last Sunday. Even though it's different than being among my congregation, GCT friends still know I'm a pastor and occasionally look to me for spiritual, relational and life guidance. I spend hours and hours hanging out with people, they come to view me as a "normal guy" and when they need some direction, I'm the one they call - or email or text or Facebook.

4) A Godson Erin and I have become close friends with last summer's director, Franci. Several months ago, Franci asked us to be her son's godparents "so when he grows up and has questions about following Christ, you'll be there to teach him." No one has ever given us an honor like that before and we take it very seriously; we've prayed for Ryder (and his mom) every night for the past 7 months and he sometimes spends the night here on Saturday nights. Ryder is a very special boy and we hope that as he grows up we really will be able to teach him what it means to live for Jesus, just as his mom wants us to do.
4.5) Young Love I've added this in response to Valerie's comments below. I've got a habit of trying to create love connections between unmarried friends. Sometime during last summer's rehearsals I realized, "Valerie's a great person (I got to know Val through the show), Zach's a great person (I've known Zach almost my entire life), I wonder if they'd be game for a blind date?" They were game and they eventually hit if off (Zach's a bit shy) and now Erin and I smile at the two young lovebirds. I joke that I like to "spread the misery" but seriously, I enjoy seeing great people create a great relationship. I know that Zach and Valerie and Valerie's mom are very glad I auditioned for The Music Man.

5) Dawson As great as the above blessings are, they don't compare to the privilege of being Dawson's mommy and daddy. You can read the entire adoption story here but the short version is this: Our IVF attempt failed about a week before last summer's show, Karen called in September to tell us her pregnant niece was looking for an adoptive family, at Ryder's birthday party in October Franci convinced us we should meet with Brianna (though we didn't think we were ready for adoption), Alex's role as Horton in Spring Hill HS's Suessical the Musical was how God told us to adopt this little boy and Dale and Judy got us an adoption grant that covered a large part of the adoption expenses. We met all of those people through The Music Man.

Erin and I went through several painful years trying to become parents and when I realized that our prayers were answered through such a small thing as GCT's request for Annie getting denied, I had trouble keeping the tears out of my eyes.

We pray and pray and pray and cry and pray some more, then we're just amazed at the coincidences that work in bringing God's answer to the cry of our hearts.


Valerie said...

6) You got to play matchmaker with some of your new friends... and you put a GREAT couple together. Yes? :)

Elena said...

Cool to read how God allowed you to see how the "random" details came together to be such amazing blessings.