I love seeing musicals. It’s been a love of mine for a long time. In fact, I was just in New York for a few days and bawled my eyes out while watching Finding Neverland on Broadway. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve experienced.
Some friends here in Nashville have had season tickets to the local theater for a few years. I keep thinking I’ll join them; I’ll get a season ticket seat with them. It’s been about three seasons running that I’ve thought to myself, “Annie! You know you will love this! Buy in!”
It’s part of my ongoing goal for 2015 to find more things that give me rest and make me feel alive and full of joy. It has been like a treasure hunt — walking at Radnor Lake, watching Arsenal soccer, painting my nails. And being a season ticket holder for our local theater.
So I did it. And I was giddy all morning. It felt very grown up and artsy and all the things I wish I was. 😉
But because I bought it later than my friends, and I only had the finances to buy one seat, my season ticket is alone. Sure, my friends will be in the same room, but they will be sitting together, and I will be alone in the balcony.
I’ve been single a long time, so I’m not afraid to be somewhere by myself. I’ve also spent the last few years learning to do what I love — go to New York, move to Scotland, try a new restaurant — even if it means being alone.
But for some reason, as the afternoon of my first day as a season ticket holder ticked by, I felt deeply sad. Imagining sitting alone one night a month for the next seven months felt heavy. But hadn’t I brought that on myself? And wait, wasn’t I excited about this?
What does it mean when doing the thing you want brings both joy and sadness?
That feels awkward to me. Like, if I love it, shouldn’t it just be awesome? And if it makes me sad, shouldn’t I avoid it?
It’s seems the longer I know Jesus the more He wants me to see through His eyes, not my own, and see that things are not so easy to categorize and separate. To see that there can be joy in grieving and grief in joy. That beautiful things can both hurt and help. That avoiding pain is going to avoid hurt (maybe), but cost me far more in good things.
I could avoid the feelings of loneliness and not go to the theater, but then I also miss seeing Matilda live in Nashville.
Nope. Not worth it.
So I will go to every show with my friends, eat dinner with them before, and catch up with them afterwards, but I will sit alone, third row center of the balcony. I will feel the absolute joy of watching performance art and I will feel the twinges of sadness and loneliness. And it will be beautiful and life-giving and I will be glad I didn’t miss another season.