Behind the Scenes

It's been quiet on stage here at Winters' Day In.

But so, so far from quiet backstage.

Behind the scenes, I have been working long days on the fundraiser for Faith Children Home, which was on Friday. It was a great success, thankfully, and I feel blessed, grateful, and exhausted today. Although I actually began working on this event while I was in San Francisco in August, the last two weeks involved the most intense burst of effort: following up with approaching possible corporate sponsors, meetings with my team members, selling tickets (because they mostly sell last minute in our town), promoting it like crazy, and taking care of all the last minute details.

Since our entertainment was improv comedy group The Panic Squad, I am glad that I got to release some positive endorphins through laughter after all that work! (Thanks, Andrew, Mike, and Dave!)

Jude (far right) was an audience volunteer. Andrew explains how the two volunteers have to move the actors through the scene, and the actors are only allowed to talk.

Synchronized swimming? Um... not so much. (Sorry, Mike!)

Behind the scenes, I have been trying to write on my new novel every day. In 2006, I participated in "NaBloPoMo", a.k.a. "National Blog Posting Month", where the only requirement is that you post on your blog every. single. day. This brilliant little idea was an offshoot of NaNoWriMo, which means--you guessed it--National Novel Writing Month, where the idea is to write a novel--or at least 50,000 words--in a month. Both of these events take place in November. (Although NaBloPoMo has now been extended to any month of the year that one wants to participate.)

I didn't "sign up" at the official NaNo website--I figured that kind of pressure would only lead me to disappoint myself. Instead, I joined an online NaNo writing group on the WANATribe social (writer's) site, and went in with the intention to write consistently on my new novel throughout the month. I started at about 7k words. I am now at around the 15k mark. I haven't had time to write on it every day, but I have consistently written on it most days in the week--and, considering everything else I have been juggling and the difficulty of the subject matter, I feel pretty good about that.

Behind the scenes, I have been continuing to plod through my 2014 accounting, while (for the first time in my business history) concurrently keeping up with my 2015 books.

I hate working with numbers. There is no quicker way to kill my creative juices than a night spent on data entry. My Muse gets bored and starts looking for justifiable (and not-so-justifiable) ways to distract me.

Thus, I also decided to start selling Younique makeup. Fortunately, this is all done online, so I can easily be flipping between posting in my Facebook parties, watching videos about fun things to do with makeup, and working on the dreaded books. My Muse is laughing--and even though the books are going slowly, I hope my husband appreciates the extra time I am taking to look nice every day. :-)

Behind the scenes, Jabin got the chickenpox last week. The spots started appearing last Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure he was completely over being "contagious" on Friday night, so he and Jason had to stay home from the Comedy Night.

I was disappointed, because I was really hoping that Jason would speak this year. (Not that I hate public speaking, I just despise it completely.) Well, I got stuck with the job again. I realized on the way home that there were people I forgot to thank, and sighed a long sigh. (If this was you, I am so, so sorry.) Maybe I'll get it right next year.

Behind the scenes of all that activity happening behind the scenes, I had put grieving on hold. I was too busy to think about it, and on the few times my grief threatened to break out of the closet I had shoved it into, I jammed it back in and put a bolt across the doors. I didn't have time to lose it and fall apart. There were people counting on me. I had responsibilities. I had to complete the task I had started.

Now it is done. Almost. Just a few more housekeeping things to take care of to make sure everyone gets paid and the books all balance and our sponsors know how much we appreciate them.

Last night, I put Jabin and Noah to bed and came out of their room and stopped. The hallway wall opposite their door has a photo collage of Levi being his crazy, goofy, awesome self. I stood there for a few minutes and remembered my boy, and the sadness rattled to escape. I didn't let it, yet. Not yet.

I can't keep my sadness in the closet forever. I was expecting it to come exploding out on its own whether I let it or not, but I think I was just too tired for it to register last night. So now, I'm standing in front of that bolted door and sliding the bolt open. It's time to do a different kind of work, the kind that will let me heal. Healing is slow enough work as it is--putting it on hold for too long will only make it worse when I allow the process to start again.

So I throw open the door and stand here waiting to see what state my mama's heart is in.

It's snowing outside--the first real flurry of the season. The gray clouds reflect my mood perfectly, but the fluffy white flakes make me smile as I think of Levi. He would have been in and out of the door at least a dozen times already this afternoon as he revelled in the joy that snow always brought him.

You know better than I
You know the way
I’ve let go of the need to know why
I’ll take what answers you supply
You know better than I
— "Better Than I", written by John Bucchino

This morning, I was reminded of one of my favourite songs, "Better Than I" from the movie "Joseph: King of Dreams". This song has always held a lot of meaning to me--I first heard it when I was still healing from the trauma of my parents' divorce and trying to sort out the tangled mess I had made of my teenage years. In light of what I have been learning about loss, and God's role in our lives, it means even more, now. This beautiful rendition is by Daniel Boys.

The song was written to illustrate a point in Joseph's (one of the sons of Jacob) life when he had done everything he thought he should do to faithfully serve God. In return, he had been sold into slavery by his ten jealous older brothers, then falsely accused of adultery with the wife of Egypt's General and thrown into jail. He had been recognized several times for his character and work, but his situation always seemed to turn into something worse off than before. And an Egyptian prison was about the lowest point he could get to without actually being killed.

But behind the scenes, God was walking with Joseph to help him to become the kind of man he needed to be for the next phase of his life.

As I have been pondering what has been happening in my life behind the scenes, it occurred to me that God is always working in our lives, whether we see him or not. In fact, 98% of what he does is behind the scenes. Even when we ignore what he tries to teach us and stuff it into a closet in our minds, he cares about us too much to let us remain stagnant in our pain. He will always present new opportunities for us to grow, heal, and turn to him.

God took Joseph from a spoiled brat to a wise, caring, and humble leader that saved the Israelites and the entire nation of Egypt from starvation during a famine. One man who submits himself completely to God is able to accomplish pretty amazing things and be a blessing to many.

That's all God is ever trying to do--take the pain and ugliness in our lives and make it beautiful. He gives us prompts and cues and works hard to ensure our story continues. But he does it slowly. Quietly. Behind the scenes.

Can you think of a situation in your life where you didn't know God was working at the time, but later realized he was there all along, making something beautiful behind the scenes? I would love to hear about it. Please share in the comments.

And if you can't think of one, look around at where your life is right now. Often the hardest things in our life present the greatest opportunity for beauty to arise. Can you see that opportunity yet? Can you feel the change that is being worked in your heart because of your current circumstance? Will you let go of the need to know why and walk by faith that you are on the road to somewhere better?

I bet you will be surprised at the level of activity taking place behind the scenes.