Sometimes I need to be reminded why I do what I do.
Sometimes I get busy in the business of my art, in the business of my ministry.
Sometimes I lose sight of the vision. My passion becomes just a job.
That’s when I need reminders…like this one.
I had just finished a performance of my one-man drama In His Steps, the classic novel that asks the famous question “what would Jesus do?” I had done all the normal after show routines: stood in the church foyer and shook a few hands, sold a few books and videos. I am usually the last to leave the church after a performance, and this was typical of that routine. Most of the people had left the building when I gathered up my props, packed them in my suitcase and headed out the door.
As I popped open the trunk of my car I noticed a young girl, probably about 15 or 16 years old lingering in the parking lot, then she slowly drifting toward me as I placed my suitcase in the trunk.
“Can I talk to you?” she asked.
“Sure,” I said…a bit puzzled.
“You talked tonight about ‘what would Jesus do?’ And…well…I am trying to figure that out for myself.”
“Ah,” I said. “Yes, that can be a challenge for all of us.”
“I have not told anybody this…I’m still in high school…and I’m pregnant.”
“Uh…oh…I’m sorry,” I think I said…I was pretty much speechless. Of all the conversations I have had after a performance, this was a new one.
“I don’t know what to do…or what Jesus would do. I was hoping you could tell me.”
My mind was reeling. I had never met this girl before. And here she was asking me, a perfect stranger to tell her, not only what to do, but what to do in light of the question ‘what would Jesus do?’
Searching for words I asked, ”Does the father know?”
“Yes…and he is the youth leader here at the church.”
“Oh…wow…I…uh…I am so sorry.”
Suddenly the question she was struggling with became my question. “What would Jesus do?” And I was struck with the realization that this poor girl wasn’t talking to me; she didn’t know me. She was talking to the character I had just portrayed on stage. She was talking to The Reverend Henry Maxwell, a fictional character who, from the stage, projected wisdom and conviction to do powerful things driven by that central question “what would Jesus do?” She was talking to Henry Maxwell, someone she felt she could trust. Someone who could help her.
We talked for some time. I tried to give her the best advice that Henry Maxwell could offer. There were some tears, there was a prayer. With her permission I later called the pastor of the church and told him of our encounter. While I don’t know the complete ending to this story, the pastor later assured me that the situation was dealt with and the girl was being loved and cared for in the best way possible.
Sometimes I need to be reminded.
Reminded of the things that brought me to the place I now stand.
Reminded that there is power in the arts that can change a life.
Reminded of the vision and the passion that propelled me on this journey.
Reminded of my calling.
I am reminded, and in the process renewed.