Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Send in the Clowns


Luke 15:32
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.

We sign up our oldest granddaughter, Virginia Rose, for Performing Arts Camp at our church this summer.  She is dubious and reluctant at first, but when she is reassured by Christine, the church's music minister, that she doesn't have to be responsible for a speaking part, Virginia agrees to give it a whirl.

To settle her nerves the night before camp begins, I tell Virginia this true story about her own mother's experience with choir musicals.  "Your Mom was very shy and dreaded getting up in front of anyone to speak, act, sing, you name it."  But once I got her involved in children's choir, and she was surrounded by other kids doing the same thing, she quickly got over her fears.  You will, too!"

"Are you sure, Gammie?"  Virginia asks.

"Positive," I respond.

After the first nine to one session on Monday, Virginia's enthusiasm is boundless.  She is eager to listen to the take-home CD and practice all the songs.  She tells me how she's helping to paint props, and has indelible stains on her shirt to prove it.  By day two, Virginia is feeling so much at home, she accepts a non-speaking role as a circus clown.  She's all in!

I'm thrilled for her, and falling in love with the story of the Prodigal Clown myself.  Of course, we all know the Bible story by heart, so no need to rehash it here, but for many of these children, learning that God's love for us never wavers, even when we go astray, is a first-time, powerful and, hopefully, lasting.

But what amazes me the most is this:  In four and a half days, the kids, along with teen and adult volunteers, put together a professional musical, which they perform on Friday for parents, grandparents and the community.  And without the unflagging efforts of April, our music education assistant at church, who directs the musical and coaches the children flawlessly, this magnificent production would not be possible.

Here are some photos my husband, Danny, takes of the singing and dancing under the Big Top!  Can you spot our special clown?








After the stellar performance, as I'm driving Virginia home, I hear her declare, "Gammie, Performing Arts Camp was so much fun, I can't wait 'til next year!"

What do you want to bet she'll be asking for a speaking role next time around?

Amen!

26 comments:

  1. How wonderful to make such happy memories at this young age. Well done, Martha, for encouraging her. These are special times for you and your grand-daughter.

    May God bless you all always.

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    1. Yes, Victor, fantastic memories for all involved, and special times, indeed!
      Love and blessings!

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  2. At first I wondered how someone so gregarious could shy away from the "spotlight." But I love her attitude (and yours) of being willing to do the "small" stuff and now she is ready for the bigger stuff. Well done gammie!

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    1. Virginia's reluctance initially surprised me, too, Bill, but it's one thing to be outgoing with family and friends, and quite another to take the stage when one has never done so. I'm so proud of her, as I'm sure you can tell!
      Love and blessings!

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  3. I love the encouragement you gave and her willingness to try it despite the reluctance. Well done to both of you!

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    1. Thanks so much, Ryan, for your kind words here.
      Love and blessings!

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  4. You go, girl!

    What a joy to see our grand-girls sparkle and shine and expand their uncertain borders!

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    1. Yes, that's such a delight to see, Linda! Glad you enjoyed the post.
      Love and blessings!

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  5. Just caught up on your last several posts. Loved the one about detours. A similar thing happened to me recently where road construction stymied every route I took. And this post about Virginia Rose reminded me of my daughter with a slight variation.

    When she was in high school, she wanted to switch from basketball, which she had played year round since third grade, to lacrosse. She came home from her first practice discouraged and said she didn't want to play lacrosse anymore. I was so surprised since she had been begging to play for a year.

    When I asked her why, she said, "Because I don't know how to play!" I realized that she had forgotten when she didn't know how to play basketball. She was used to being skilled and confident, and now she was confronted with being a beginner.

    "Well, how long have you been playing lacrosse?" I asked her. "Two hours!" she replied.

    "Tell you what. Why don't you give it two more hours tomorrow and see what you think," I suggested.

    She came home the next day exclaiming, "I LOVE lacrosse!" And she did. She was a natural athlete and I was pretty sure that if she just got past her initial shock at not knowing the game, she would pick it up quickly.

    So you were very wise to encourage Virginia Rose to give it a try. And see what happened!

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    1. Wow, Galen, what a great story about your daughter! Yes, we must never give up on encouraging our children/grandchildren to try something new and/or stick with an activity they've chosen for just a bit longer. You never know what can happen!
      Love and blessings!

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  6. What a joy-filled experience! Send in the Clowns is one of my all-time favorite songs And what a novel way in which to impart this poignant tale! Props to all the volunteers!

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    1. I say props to the volunteers, too, Mevely; they did an outstanding job with the kids! Send in the Clowns is a sentimental favorite of mine, too.
      Love and blessings!

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  7. LOVE your encouragement of your sweet grand! KNOW she was encouraged by her mother's story and then raked up the courage to proceed. This will go a LONG way in giving her confidence in the years to come to "try" something new AND stand before a crowd.
    SHE IS PRECIOUS!
    Blessings!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words here, Loralu! I do feel that all children need our encouragement and support to try new things and gain confidence in their abilities. So glad the effort worked with Virginia!
      And yes, I think she's precious, too.
      Love and blessings!

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  8. Of course she will want a speaking part next year! This is so great! I'm happy for her and for you! Watching the little ones grow is so special.

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    1. Oh, Terri, yes, watching them grow is so special, and I'm so blessed to have a granddaughter like Virginia! So proud of her for being willing to take a leap of faith into the unknown.
      Love and blessings!

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  9. Beautiful post, Martha! The musical looks like a great one and fun too--and a great message. Virginia is growing by leaps and bounds in many ways. It will be interesting where these experiences will take her as she matures.

    Love and blessings!

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    1. Yes, Kim, it will be so interesting to see where all these experiences take Virginia as the years roll on. She can sing quite well, and I'd love it if she'd continue to have an interest in performing arts. The kids certainly did learn a powerful lesson about God's unfailing love.
      Love and blessings!

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  10. I'm so proud of Virginia! Stepping out of our comfort zone is part of growing up (for adults, too!). God often stretches and teaches us when we do things that cause us to truly lean on Him for strength.

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    1. Amen, Beckie, that is so true! I wouldn't have been able to coach Virginia in this arena as well as I did without having quite a few experiences of my own, not to mention with my own children. God will stretch us beautifully when we lean upon Him.
      Love and blessings!

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  11. How cute! What a fun post and great adventure for Virginia Rose to be a clown. Love all the pictures. I'm sure this prodigal clown story wooed the audience and drove home the story's takeaway in a new way.

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    1. The musical did drive the story home in a whole new way, Karen. Just so happy that Virginia got to be a part of this amazing production!
      Love and blessings!

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  12. Isn't that something how she came alive and even enjoyed something she once dreaded so much? There is a huge lesson for us adults in this! Thank you for sharing, sweet friend. :)

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    1. Yes, Cheryl, it was such a joyous week for all of us. And we're never too old to learn something new, are we?
      Love and blessings!

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  13. Oh what fun! Yes, I see your special clown...Virginia looks like she is having the time of her life! What a great experience!! So happy for her to have had this wonderful adventure! She will never forget it!!

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  14. This is so sweet! The pictures and the story, sending loads of love and best wishes to you and yours.

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