How the Theater Prepared Me to be a Seminarian’s WifePosted: May 12, 2012
In high school I was involved with the school’s drama group. Now while many people think of actors, dancers, and singers when it comes to plays, I did none of these things. I tried out for a play or two, actually got in the chorus of one, and discovered I wasn’t very good at it. I was okay with that because I had already found my niche within the theater world: being a techie. I belonged with the students who didn’t want to be in the spotlight or even the back light. Instead, we built the sets, focused the lights, checked the mikes, cued the actors, and took care of all those small details that the audience rarely noticed but would derail the show without them being completed.
One of my favorite moments in theater was when I teched the community theater’s production of Cinderella. During the scene that Cinderella met her fairy godmother, flowers were supposed to appear in a vase when the godmother waved her wand. Since I was the smallest person on the stage crew, I was given the job of stuffing myself under the table that the vase sat on and waiting ten minutes until the I heard the fairy godmother’s cue. Then I was to shove the flowers through a hole in the table and vase, making the flowers appear to the audience. At first I was a little perturbed by this job–really, who wants to sit under a table during a play? However, after one of the shows my mom came to see she told me about a little four-year-old girl who sat beside her. When the flowers had popped up, the little girl had exclaimed, “Oooh, magic!“
No one who watched the show really knew how those flowers appeared, no one who watched the show knew that I existed. In the other plays I teched I rarely got a congratulation beyond my family and friends (and my mom’s friends). When I was stage manager, the local paper never wrote about how smoothly the play had been called, nor did anyone realize that I had spent nearly two years earning the respect of the techie boys so they would actually listen to my cues and pay attention to what I said–a difficult task if you have ever tried to get teenage boys to follow directions when they don’t want to. My work was literally behind the scenes but I liked it. It was quiet and hidden but I did find satisfaction in my time as a techie.
We were often told in high school that the lessons we learned in the theater would last us a lifetime. While I learned things as a techie like how to use a table saw and how to manage my peers, I also learned an important lesson about working behind the scenes. As a seminarian’s wife, most of our life choices help my husband get through his schooling. While my husband goes to the actual classes and will be the one to receive an actual call (God willing), I find myself working behind the scenes to help him achieve this ambition. I work a job that helps pay the bills, not something that I necessarily find myself being “called” to do. We move a lot for his schooling. We attend my husband’s field work church every Sunday even though I have discovered that the church will most likely never be my church home. I even sat quietly in the pews during the Vicarage Assignment Service as the preacher preached to the vicars-to-be about what vicarage would mean to them and them alone.
Granted, it is much easier to work behind the scene in a play than in my life. It still hurts when people who know me through my husband are flabbergasted that I work (I’m not really sure what they thought I did all day. Knitting, perhaps?). I would like to have job that could lead to a career, not just something that can offset living expenses. Moving isn’t getting any easier. I still long for a church home, not just a place where my husband works. Most of all, it’s hard to explain to old acquaintances that what I have been doing for the last two years isn’t really for myself, it’s for my husband. But I also know that my satisfaction with life cannot be found in more degrees or making big money in a dream job. My satisfaction cannot be found in people’s acknowledgment and admiration. My satisfaction is working alongside my husband* and knowing that he is appreciative of my work, even when most others cannot see the value in what I am doing. It is a quiet and hidden way of life but it can be satisfying.
*Just to be clear, I am not referring to a team ministry, just working through life together.