“No one lights a lamp, then hides it in a drawer. It’s put on a lamp stand so those entering the room have light to see where they’re going. Your eye is a lamp, lighting up your whole body. If you live wide-eyed in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. Keep your eyes open, your lamp burning, so you don’t get musty and murky. Keep your life as well-lighted as your best-lighted room.” Luke 11:33-36 (MSG)
This week I am a grown adult playing a child’s game of dress up and make-believe. Having shaved my head, I will put on a costume and pretend I am a wealthy, 20th century industrialist living on 5th Avenue in New York City. I am quite certain that some people think I’m silly, but for me it is about living wide-eyed in wonder and belief.
While I enjoy the stage for the fun and camaraderie, it is more than just an amusement to me. Acting helps me maintain a child-like wonder and playfulness about life. As I research a character I am digging deeper into the human condition, gaining greater empathy for others, and acquiring a more thorough understanding of my own humanity. In Oliver Warbucks I’ve learned a little more about greed, lonliness, isolation, loss, drive, and ambition. Most of all, Oliver has spoken to me about redemption. Warbucks is the incarnation of Jesus’ teaching about gaining the whole world at the risk of losing your own soul. The two and a half hours of Annie has become, for me, the story of Oliver’s journey from the darkness of isolation to the light of love. That story is simply a reflection of the great story, of God’s story, of the Christmas story.
In two weeks the show will be over, but I know from experience that these few months of wide-eyed wonder and the willing suspension of disbelief will have made my own life a little less murky.