(Results of the Wild Harvest Gift Box drawing below! Scroll to the end! AND---Important Message to All My [Amazing] Readers!)
It's been a week of triumphs and failures here in my house. The other day, we killed a mouse in the kitchen just before breakfast, Micah, dog Sophie and I, thanks to a broom, the refrigerator, and Sophie's teeth. (Yay!)
That same day, while driving, my car door flew wide open on turning a corner---and Sophie, who was standing on the door, tumbled out at 25 mph---to go head-over-paws to the pavement below----and somehow, miraculously, to land on her feet and avoid the car zooming right behind me!! (Oh my! Thank you Lord!!)
More good: Micah and I are at Godspell practice every night singing and dancing out the gospel of happy news. Last night a final sunburst lit our way in as we began the night.
And this week I taped my first cooking video, one more step in an unexpected story that began 2 summers ago at fishcamp with a surprise call from two producers in L.A.. Months later I flew down to Hollywood, met with some execs and much enthusiasm and hope all around. But that door closed, committee style, six months later. Then another producer appeared---and this assignment:
"Send me a 3 - 5 minute video of you cooking and talking. Show me that you can cook and talk. Not everyone can so that. And be engaging. Make a connection with your audience." So here it is: (filmed on my ipad after a 4 hour night of non-sleep):
And now the failure: The verdict came in quickly: "Uhhhhh, this isn't any good. You look like a sweet, nice lady, but you look and sound like any other sweet nice lady cooking in the kitchen. Why would anyone want to listen to you as opposed to anyone else? What your schtick? You gotta find your schtick, be an actor, and play it hard."
Here, of course, are some possible Shticks:
(No---he didn't tell me to wear a bikini . . ..)
He DID have a schtick for me. And it was good. I knew it. I agreed to it. I took notes. And then I went to bed.
I did not sleep. I dreamed about a woman sweeping into a kitchen looking strangely like mine on a broom schtick, with eyes flashing, mouth motoring nonstop, teeth gleeming at every one of her own jokes, while her hands crumbled, sauteed, kneaded, stirred, flipped, and boiled a mountain of unidentifed ingredients. There were massive cameras with lenses on every inch of the kitchen, with smoke and flame and flying knives, sizzling pans, orchestral music playing----and teeth, teeth, everywhere teeth and dimples----until the crescendo when all went black, and that one tired woman stepped off her broom Schtick, collapsed into a chair, peeled off her plastic lips--and then I woke up.
I can't do it.
Even though he was entirely right--what I needed to do, who I should be---I woke up certain. I wasn't going to do a schtick. I wasn't going to be anyone but myself, not even more than myself. I do want to be more-than-myself, but not the TV version of that. I want to be the Holy Spirit kind of more-than-myself, you know, the kind with more love, more peace, more patience, more gentleness . ... So after two years with a dangling carrot (sauted, in garlic and glazed with honey-orange juice) in front of my nose, I'm putting the carrot down.
This is my schtick. Right here. With you. With my readers. And speaking face to face with others--whether it's in a living room over Chinese tea or in a studio or before the cameras. Still. This is the me God is making me, not the me TV wants me to be.
How obvious, right? But no. The phone rings, the email comes in, the friend asks: Would you teach Sunday School? Could you serve with me at the banquet? Could you come and help me with the decorations? Do you want to try out for this play? Could you sing with us on the worship team? What do you think about doing a cooking show?
And we can often think: oh, "that's not me. What do I know about serving at a banquet?" Or---"that's not me, to be in a play." These invitations of one sort or another come to us all the time! I often say yes. But I do not say yes out of obligation. Not out of guilt. But because I love finding new ways, new voices, new eyes to see God and to love and serve Him.
My singing voice isn't amazing. I tend to overact---but I am LOVING enacting the gospel in Godspell rehearsals right now, bringing breath and body and voice to the. truth and beauty of the gospel My cooking show didn't work out, but I LOVED trying it, and remembering the sacredness of food, how it feeds both body and soul when we see it rightly. I LOVE/Hate wrestling with the word-angels every day in my office, crafting the next book that I hope will illuminate GOd's uncountable mercies. (Yes, sometimes it feels like hate when I write all day----and then throw it away . . .)
I'm giving up on the cooking show, happily at this point. but I'm not giving up on anything else. I hope we will all keep finding ways to bring fruit and blessing from orchards, to create vivid meals from our shelves, to raise our voices, to lend our backs, to grow our capacity to find God, to hear Him, and to offer it all back, with a pirouette, maybe. I hope we will all continue to find ways to be more of the "me" that God desires us to be.
He is in all , through all, and over all. There is no realm where Christ does not live and reign.
So don't worry about failure. Just don't climb onto any broom schtick that steals away your real self. God will show you the limits (as He did with the show. Hooray!)
Feel freed to explore a new place where you have not found him yet. Go explore a talent you don't know you possess yet. Sing a NEW song, dance a NEW dance, bake a NEW cake----to Him! (Then serve it to us, please, especially if it contains expensive chocolate!)
We're ALL cheering you on!
Thank you ALL for sharing last week's post! WIld Harvest GIft Boxes are going to Sherry Mitchell and Beverly Hudson. Could you two send me your mailing addresses? Leslieleylandfields@gmail.com. I'll be doing other giveaways as the holidays approach!
ONE MORE NOTE! I gratefully answer EVERY comment that comes in--BUT it seems you are not notified by email when I respond. Please do check back after you comment. I LOVE to answer you back!