Monday, February 15, 2010

"Alright, kids, let's start from the top."

I am running a rehearsal for "Chicago," and not only the show, but a high school version of the show. I am the music director, working with the drama teacher, dance instructor, pianist, and students.

The drama teacher who is spacey and frazzled and has too much on her plate.

The dance instructor who's marriage just fell apart and has much on her mind.

The pianist who is opinionated and hard for me to read at times.

And, the students. Ah, the students. So much I could say. They are tired (it's their vacation), unsure, uncoordinated, tough-acting, sensitive beings. I am trying to bust their butts to work hard on this music, which needs attitude and precision...when they give me apathy and routine.

I am not a leader. Not in my definition of the word. A leader doesn't let others' attitudes upset them. A leader has a vision that they know how to achieve. A leader can communicate well with others. A leader is a rock of self-assurance.

I am not that leader. Sometimes I see myself acting that way. I can be a good actor when I want to be. But I don't like myself very much when I'm that way. I have moments when I am coarse, rushed, bossy, or impatient.

And then I come back to myself and don't like who I just was. And I pendulum back to the other extreme, where I doubt my actions, my thoughts, other's observations, and wonder if I'll ever be able to just be true. Who am I supposed to be, really? I've always thought of myself as a more type-B personality:
- I don't like to cause waves
- I want people to get along
- perfectionism isn't as important as peace
However, when you're leading a group of people, there are a myriad of personalities to deal with. Not everyone will agree with you or each other on any number of decisions. Peace is not natural in this world. When people are in disagreement - this is where I need confidence to lead with grace and truth.

I don't like being the one responsible for where it all stops. Lately, that's a place I've found myself frequently. There is no one to hide behind - no one to pass things off to, or defer answers to. It's mine to call. I really don't like that. I feel inexperienced and shy about decision making. I don't trust my judgment or ability to be objective.

The drama director is a wonderful woman who likes to ski and has the joy of a daughter getting married in the spring. She is talented and spirited and I enjoy working with her. She never makes me feel the 20+ years younger than her that I am.

The dance instructor is a beautiful, Godly woman who takes the time to listen and understand and open herself up to you. I cannot fathom how she still does that given all she's been through.

The pianist is a friend of mine from college, who struggles with social awkwardness at times. I have to remember that she probably doesn't understand me as much I don't understand her. Sometimes I feel there are many people like this in my life...and maybe it's me, not them. I need to love them through God's eyes. My own often don't work well.

And the students. They can be draining, but they are usually life-giving. They are excited to be shown how to perform, to make the music and the drama that this opportunity affords them. They give me smiles, little funny comments, and they try really hard and sometimes succeed when I push them. They give me the gift of response. They let me lead them. I love them for that. I come back to the next rehearsal for that.

I don't know how to be the leader that it seems I must be in so many areas of my life. I have leaned on others for so much of my life. I know it's called growing up, but it's a little weird realizing that all these older people treat you as an adult too - not a "young adult" - no, no, that's different. That's the term that means "I-know-you're-technically-an-adult-but-you-still-act-kinda-immature-and-I-don't-trust-you-yet" Now, they trust me. Doesn't mean I get it right all the time, or even most of time. But it's good to realize that neither do they. We're all just supposed to try as best we can to do the work before us.

So. I'm the leader, I will lead. I might look foolish at times. I might screw up and have to correct myself. But, maybe if I stay true and honest, knowing when to speak and when to shut up, they'll keep following. The following is more important than the leading.

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