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"Living here is a stage, Mom."
I looked curiously at my 9-year old guy. Although he does well academically, I couldn't imagine he had been reading Shakespeare!
"Really? What do you mean?"
"Well, actually, I think we have three stages. One here, then in purgatory…hopefully that one is short...and then a really long one in heaven."
"Wow! That's some pretty deep thinking!" said I.
"Yeah. And we do different things on each stage."
And, with that statement, he literally bounded off to the next room, leaving me hanging in silence.
Of course, we all know that life really is like a stage. We, as the actors, play many roles on it. Although the venue changes, as my son said so eloquently, we still traipse through each one the best we can. Or do we?
I debuted as a newbie, playing the role of a helpless human at the mercy of others around me. This debut was comprised of several roles: daughter, granddaughter, cousin, niece...they each pulled out of me new skills that I needed to gain in order to progress into my later roles as sister (several times over), friend, student, neighbor, etc. With each filled role, my parts to play on the stage of life continued to unfold into deeper and more meaningful ones as I progressed into those of wife, in-law, and mother. Each part prepared me for the next, layers folding over each other in a drama that could have only been written by a Master Writer. But did I play each role to the best of my ability?
In truth, I would have to respond with 'no.' This answer then begs the next question: What would have happened to the script had I done so?
Undoubtedly, much of the narrative would have changed.
Playing my roles to the best of my ability would signify that I had put on Oscar-winning performances. However, from heaven's point of view, my performances have often been much less than stellar, rightfully earning a perfect target spot for thrown tomatoes and fruits.
Had I always performed my best, the tone of the entire play would have changed dramatically. Peace instead of friction, smiles instead of tears would have been constant features. A viewer watching it from afar would have been uplifted and inspired.
How often had my performances produced the opposite?
Thankfully, in a great act of mercy and dedication to the Divine Narrative, my play has not yet ended. I do not know how many more acts I have yet to finish, how many parts are still left for me to play. But, I have time yet to attempt to do my best, to allow grace itself to grace the stage. Hopefully, fewer rotten tomatoes will come my way.
After all, it is all up to me.
As we continue to perform our various roles on the stage of life, let's take a moment to identify the roles we play and evaluate their success. Despite the fact that we are never at a loss for comparisons, let's remember to compare to only this: the example of the most Oscar-winning performance of all time - the life of Jesus Christ. The closer our roles parallel His, the closer we are to accepting our dream role on the eternal stage awaiting us.
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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