Musings of an Irish-American

Sometimes I think about stuff, and then I write it here…

Monthly Archives: November 2012

Her whole livelihood

Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in a couple of coins, amounting to a few cents. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

-Mark 12:41-44

I honestly can’t believe that I have only made one blog post this year thus far; it’s been quite the blur from the end of January until now.

The rundown: my efforts in graduate school auditions were altogether successful, as I had interest (and admission) from quite a few institutions. However, I concluded that the amount of money I would have to incur to get that training would not be worth the training I’d receive. Although I still sometimes come back to that decision, I believe that, at least in this moment, I have made the right decision. In June, I decided to give my two weeks notice at the casino, as I found the hours and lack of advancement for my own career pursuits to far outweigh the security of making a regular paycheck and working with people who I still miss. Within the week of finishing at the casino, I was cast in my first professional theatrical production at Oil Lamp Theater, playing three characters out of six one act plays to debut their new space in Glenview, IL and where I got to work with a wonderful group of people who I am so deeply glad to say are my friends. After that closed September 1, I was privileged enough to assume the role of Chief Francis O’Neill in “Music Mad”, which began its run in May, and was with them until the end of last month. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to be back at Oil Lamp as part of their holiday production, “It’s  A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”, playing characters from a film that is very dear to my heart. I have also been cast in a production at Citadel Theatre Company in nearby Lake Forest, IL, where I’ll be playing Alan in Yazmina Reza’s “God of Carnage”.

So, my life, especially as of late, has been quite the flurry of activity, but I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I, to at least some extent, am beginning to fulfill my dreams of doing what I love for a living; I can only hope that this incredible run I’m on currently continues on.

This all leads me back to the quote at the top; it’s from today’s Gospel reading. When I heard it today, I felt motivated to come back here and write about it, especially in light of where I am in my life right now, and how recent events have somewhat played into my inspiration.

About two weeks after I finished at the casino, I started working as a barista at an Argo Tea store at O’Hare International Airport. To keep my afternoons & evenings open for rehearsals, I worked opening shifts, where I had to be at the airport by 4:30 (and later in my tenure, at 4:00) in the morning to help open the store. I also got hired as a test prep tutor for a company based here in Chicago. I started teaching classes for them about 6 weeks ago. My classes are on Sunday mornings, Monday afternoons and Tuesday afternoons, each class being 2 hours. I’m also in an Improvisation for Actors class at Second City on Wednesday afternoons. So, I started having days where I was getting up around 2:40 in the morning, working until noon, teaching  a class from 3 until 5, and then going to rehearsal from 7 until 10. Wash, rinse, repeat the next day. I was, quite literally, running myself ragged. It wasn’t until I had a series of conversations with different people in my life that I realized I was trying to do everything: work a full time job, a part time job, take classes and be involved in a production. I started to wonder where I was focusing my energy, and I realized that I wasn’t really focusing it anywhere. So, I just recently finished my tenure at Argo Tea, as, out of everything I was doing, I was putting the most effort into that, mostly by having to adjust my schedule so drastically for that, only to get ultimately very little satisfaction out of it. It also stemmed from a conversation I had with a colleague of mine, who pointed out to me that, by pursuing being an actor and performer as a career, I’m taking a leap of faith, and, to an extent, that faith has been somewhat rewarded. It was some kind of providence, a sign from some power beyond my understanding, that I was cast in my first production within a week of leaving the casino; the time frame and the way in which it all happened tells me far too strongly that it can’t just be chalked up to coincidence. I have to believe that, otherwise I’m in the completely wrong profession. However, after that first sign, I started building these frameworks to keep myself safe, to avoid being perceived as not “doing something” with my life. So, here I am, focusing my energies on acting and performing, taking a bet on myself.

So, what in the world does this have to do with the quote?

In trying to do everything, I was attempting, in this analogy, to give in the abundance of my time, instead of taking the leap of faith that I need to. I will not stop until I know I have given this a complete shot, and I can’t do that until I give fully of myself to this endeavor. So, in essence, I’m seeking to not give of the abundance of my time to do what I love, but seeking to give all of myself to make this work, to use what talents God has given me to do what I honestly believe He has put me here to do.

I can only hope that I’m on my way 🙂

-MJH

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