There are some people who strut upon the stage as if they were the only actors worthy of delivering their lines. They brazenly shout as if there were no audience worthy of hearing: my secret documents, my election victory, my, mine, MY, MINE! A two-year-old throwing a tantrum shows more decorum.
Another fool sputters there were no children killed in Sandy Hook etc. Neither care for anyone else. Their callousness continues to echo: people trampled underfoot in the Congress or the graves of slain children desecrated. SAD. But these are men who care only for themselves. No matter how the act plays out, or the review is written, they would push everyone else to the side and wait for unmerited applause.
It would be incorrect to think of the rest of us as minor players cast in supporting roles. We are all struggling to learn our lines. If we were lucky we’ve had coaches – parents, friends, teachers – who care for us, explaining that life which is continually unfolding on that stage, only plays well when we each take the responsibility to learn our lines and then pay attention to how we interact with others with whom we share the stage.
We rehearse and rehearse again and again to make sure we greet others with whom we come into contact with a pleasant face. We learn to listen and see how what we do impacts the other person. The effectiveness of our delivery depends on our sincerity, and on how much we care for one another. We learn to acknowledge the other and that they are as worthy as we are – and that we are of equal value.
In the moments when we meet one another, we’re both stage center, and on the marquee, in front of the theater our names are up in lights; we’re the stars of the show! We really count. And we need to be present and willing to own our feelings in those moments. We can’t afford to be wooden. The effectiveness of our acting depends on how we relate to one another. Every moment counts. There are no cameo appearances in this production. We are all important and need to give our best.
We’re human, so sure we may flub a line or two on occasion. But there’s always editing. Often we have the opportunity to go back – if we injured someone by word or deed we can apologize and/or make restitution. And if we hurt ourselves, we can push ourselves up off the ground, brush off our clothes and try again. That’s a double plus – try and try again!
Of course, for most of us, there’s stage fright. We remember the last time we were stage center how our palms became clammy and our legs trembled. But that’s true for all of us. Time to remember that when we support each other we both become stronger. It’s just being genuine. It’s how we grow. I fall down, you help me up. You trip or stumble and I extend a steadying hand. That’s how a functioning society thrives.
A good director helps all the players along and doesn’t pit one against the other nor encourage shouting matches. Hate and violence are not the way to bring down the house. A good director strives to have the audience rooting for all the members of the cast.
But the play that we’re all in is not an easy one. We all make an appearance from time to time. Best to remember kindness and empathy are great ways to prepare for meeting others when it’s our time to enter from the wings.
Ken was a Professor of Mathematics, a ceramicist, a welder, and an IBMer until downsized in 2000. He taught yoga until COVID-19 decided otherwise. He continues writing, living with his wife and beagle in Shorewood, Wisconsin. He enjoys chamber music and mysteries. He’s a homebrewer and runs whitewater rivers. Ken is a writer and his literary works can be found at https://www.kmkbooks.com/
He welcomes feedback on his articles and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.