Lesson from an Empty Theatre

For years I worked in the liminal world of theatre, with one foot mired in stiff reality and the other dancing precariously in the land of dreams. The sweat, toil, and stress leading to an opening night was most often dissolved in importance by the flood of anticipation and finally applause. There was closure. All was well that ended well.

The moments soon after the final patron exited the theatre, I would walk upon the stage and among the seats in the house, and in a spiritual way, try to relive the event with its laughter, sighs, coughs, and whispers. It was a communion with the past–with ghosts. The performers re-enacted their best lines while the audience sat in awe, their disbelief fully suspended. But what was I doing and why were no other members of the theatre engaging in the same introspective ambling in the empty theatre?

Perhaps loss sledgehammers some people more than others–the loss of friends, home, family, opportunity. These strolls among the empty space of a theatre were a form of séance? I don’t think so. They seemed to be a longing to capture what I felt unable to while the space teemed with life. In some way my thoughts and longings were silenced during the performances and found their voices only when allowed in the absence of the living. This, however, is an alarming state in which to live.

Theatre, among the many lessons it has taught me and others, is that it is a microcosm of existence. It is fleeting. The walls, the painted surfaces, some props, and some costumes will be trashed or re-purposed soon after the final curtain, no different than how each of us must be re-purposed and made anew after a personal loss. It is on to the next show, the next experience, the next success or heartache or life-changing event.

Our lives should be the empty stage, in a constant state of offering to others, bringing joy and laughter and introspection. Beautiful selflessness. The empty theatre is really always there, among the strutting performers and the jostling audiences. The empty theatre is akin to the peaceful stillness of creation that is always present wherever we are, whatever we are doing.

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YA Novel Release

My paranormal/adventure novel is now out in the world. For lovers of hauntings and lost worlds this story is made for you. It is now available on Kindle, Nook, and iBooks.

Synopsis — In the small, mysterious town of Nelson Gap, three ghost-hunting high school friends—Kevin, Lara, and Simon—are compelled to investigate a haunted, abandoned mine to find Kevin’s missing father. What they discover far below the town is an unknown civilization and a terrifying, demonic power fighting to enslave it. Will the three friends be able to rescue Kevin’s father and destroy the malevolent entity, or will all be lost for Kevin and the inhabitants of the hidden world?

Amazon

Barnes&Noble

Books-A-Million

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Using the House as a Symbol

Article I just published on the CCWF blog.

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Writing In Scene

Here is a link to an article I wrote for the Capital Christian Writers blog.

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An Awakening

Photo by Andy Li

Several years ago, my wife and I moved into a new townhouse, one built to our specifications. It was a new beginning for us. What is more energizing than having a new home, a chance to imbue it with your own traditions, experiences…your own spirit?

Within weeks of moving in and unpacking, we knew something was sharing our new dwelling. Sometimes it was just odd sounds that we chalked up to house settling. Then objects started moving. A hairbrush on top of the toilet tank in our master bath fell off each night for about a week. Again, we thought this may simply have been vibrations from the plumbing or a fault line under the foundation. It was a month or so later that the defining moment occurred.

As we watched TV in the downstairs family room, we heard something crash against the wall of the bathroom just down the hall from us. We looked at each other wondering the cause of the sound. I went to investigate and found a can of air freshener still rolling back and forth on the floor before it came to rest. The air freshener had been on top of the toilet tank but was now several feet away from it and only inches from the wall it had hit.

I spent about thirty minutes trying to replicate the moment, but no matter how hard I smacked the can of air freshener from the top of the toilet it never came close to the wall it impacted on its own. Something with great force, therefore, had made the can fly off the toilet.

My wife and I talked about this the rest of the evening, agreeing in the end that we had been visited. Each of us had encountered the inexplicable at different times in our lives, but this was the first clear instance of a paranormal event we shared. Since that time other supernatural events have manifested in our current home.

The world in which we live is so beautiful and mysterious, and we are all a part of the giant web of existence. I cringe when I hear people scoff at the mention of ghosts or the supernatural or of God. Perhaps their reaction is symptomatic of post-modernism. Any who think that the temporal world and spiritual world are completely separate are mistaken. The spiritual realm infuses our daily life on Earth, and we are either dismissive or reverently amazed when it manifests itself.

Each of us is a miracle interacting with other miracles. This truth gives art, music, and poetry its life force. Acts of creation are reminders that we are vessels endowed with gifts, and creation itself is far beyond our comprehension.

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