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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Make the most of 'little opportunities' God gives you

Friday, January 27, 2012

"Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in life, I stop and think of Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in the school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen.

On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. 'Guess what, Mom,' he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me . . .

'I've been chosen to clap and cheer.'"

That story, sent to me online, made me smile. As an acting director, I know hearts will be broken when parts are not given to those who have worked hard to earn them. To me, it's the hardest part of directing.

Several years ago we were auditioning for roles in the high school musical "Guys and Dolls." With a cast list of over 40 and only a handful of principle parts, most students found themselves in the chorus.

Lauren Ammons was one such freshman, although she also was given the part to walk across the stage on the arm of her acting "beau." That was it -- just walk across the stage and act like a snob. What amazed me about Lauren was that she never missed a rehearsal, continually worked to perfect her role and refused to complain. Pat Harry, the lead director, and I made a mental note about Lauren's attitude and vowed to make sure she was given bigger parts in future plays, a vow we were delighted to keep.

What do you do with the "little opportunities" God gives you? If asked to set up the chairs for the church dinner, do you complain because you're not the keynote speaker, or do you tackle your responsibility by doing it with excellence? Few accomplished people were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Take celebrities, for instance.

Brad Pitt started out dancing around in a chicken suit at a fast-food restaurant. Rod Stewart worked as a gravedigger. Johnny Depp sold pens by phone. Sean Connery was a milkman. Whoopie Goldberg put makeup on corpses at mortuaries. Danny DeVito cut hair, and Madonna worked at Dunkin' Donuts. Personally I doubt they chose to "clap and cheer" during those experiences, but it does make them all seem a little more human, doesn't it? There's merit in that . . . I guess.

This weekend I am speaking in Guatemala. Two weeks ago I received a series of emails from Juliana, one of the conference attendees. She needlepoints and is making personalized nametags for all of this year's participants.

Juliana needed to know my favorite flower and color, the exact spelling of my name and my choice for flower petal color (green being preferred). She had more detail in her questions than I have in my five-plus hours of talks. It was very convicting.

Where has God equipped you? Have you felt Him encourage you to perform, with excellence, whatever role He has assigned you? Or do you grumble and complain because you've not been promoted, in spite of your dedication and hard work? In spite of how you deserve better? Maybe . . . just maybe, that promotion will come when your attitude demonstrates you deserve it.

If that's the case, little Jamie Scott should soon be featured on Broadway.

Patty LaRoche
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