Lights, Camera, Surrender

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By Haley Aguero | Twitter: @aguero_haleyy

Thirty-seven shows.

That was the number that kept running through my head. I had just gotten a call from a theatre in Massachusetts offering me the role of Marian Paroo in The Music Man. I had worked at the theatre the year before and was thrilled when they announced auditions for their upcoming summer show. I had chatted with the director and he asked me to send in an audition video. I assumed I’d be in the chorus, but my heart stopped when I heard the words, “We are pleased to offer you the role of Marian Paroo.”  

The role called for a lyric soprano. I had always dreamed of being one and my teachers had always told me I had the potential, but there was no way I could actually be one.

There were 37 shows. Not only were they asking me to sing a lyric soprano role, but they wanted me to do it 37 times. I could barely get through my college’s typical eight-show run without getting sick, so there was no way I could do 37 shows, especially in a role that was way out of my range.

Despite my many concerns, I did something brave. I said “yes” to doing the show.

I practiced day in and day out from February to May. Slowly, but surely—with the generous help of my vocal coach and many frustrating practice sessions—I became a lyric soprano. I went to Massachusetts in May for rehearsal and everyone was unbelievably encouraging and kind. I had never felt more comfortable in my own skin. When the show opened in July, I started a new tradition of saying, “Lord, You first” before I walked on stage.

Everything was going perfectly … until I got a sinus infection two weeks into the show.

That day, I had made it through my first song. But the second song was just around the corner. Because it was my most challenging song, my friend and I had a ritual before the second song where we would “gather up” the bad thoughts and push them away. Usually it calmed me down, but this time it didn’t work.

When everything I could do in my power failed (antibiotics, encouragement from friends, pleading and crying) I had no other choice but to turn to God—the one who gave me this opportunity in the first place. In a moment of absolute fear and terror, I chose to surrender. I chose to trust God instead of bow to fear.

I walked up to the edge of the curtain and whispered my ritual, “Lord, You first.”

After the show, I still felt sick, so I decided to sneak out the back of the theatre like I usually did, but then something told me to walk through the lobby instead. Right when I walked out, my friend’s mom (who saw the show every night) ran up to me and wrapped me in a huge bear hug.  She said, “I have to tell you something and I’m going to try to do it without crying. When you performed tonight, I saw Jesus up there with you.” Even later, after the show closed, people asked me how I made it through without getting sick. No one even noticed something was wrong.

I made it through those 37 shows, but I didn’t do it by myself. I did it by surrendering wholeheartedly to Jesus. At the end of the day, when the makeup is off and the stage is bare, my God whispers in my ear and reminds me of who I am at my core: a beloved, treasured daughter of a mighty King.

That’s a role I want to play every night.  

_____________________

About Haley:

I am a recent college grad with a BFA in Musical Theatre that has a desire to share the love of Christ through singing, dancing, and the occasional corny joke. I am a sarcastic optimist that is saved by grace and can often be found sipping almond milk lattes while harmonizing to the radio. I’m hoping to document my joys and fears through words as I navigate this thing called the “real world.”

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