In junior high my sister played Mrs. Mae Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie. I remember hanging around the gym/auditorium after school when she had rehearsals (I loved being the center of attention as a cute little 2nd grader) and I was so in awe of her performance. I also remember the first time I was conscious of my own suspension of disbelief.
She entered from the back of the gym, behind the audience. I must have seen her do it a dozen times in rehearsal. And yet, when those doors opened and she called out, "Yooooouuu whhoooo!!?? Sonny Boy? Albert!" I spun around with the rest of my classmates.
What's happening now? Who's that old woman? Albert doesn't look happy to see her!
Afterwards, I was astounded that it hadn't even occurred to me that it was my sister. I was so wrapped up in the story and the characters that I was able to turn off the part of my brain that said, "that's the old fur shawl she found at the church rummage sale" or "wow, her cat eye glasses really do fit the part!"
I live a lot of my life turning on and off my suspension of disbelief. Tonight I watched two of my new fav TV shows. One is about an astronaut crew in the future (Defying Gravity) and the other about a model who dies, only to come back in the body of a plus size lawyer (who's assistant is Margaret Cho! how lucky is that!?) (oh, and that show is Drop Dead Diva). These plot lines are so completely implausible, unrealistic, silly even. And yet, when I'm watching them, I turn that part of brain off and I fall in love with the characters and devote myself to their lives for half an hour or so.
But sometimes, the ability to turn off parts of your self is a bad thing. Sometimes, it makes you miss the old lady calling out to you....
Lately I've been imagining God as an old woman from some small immigrant community. She's a small woman in stature, but she makes up for it in her voice and all-around power. You can sit there, going about your life, trying to ignore her, but eventually the nagging wears you down and you have to turn - "Yes! What IS it, Mother?!"
You are cross. She is cross. It looks bad.
But then she looks at you with a sheepish grin - "But Sweety, I only want what's best for you..."
I've been sitting here, trying to ignore that calling voice for a long time. Sometimes I would pretend to answer it, trying to satisfy her with half-commitments and empty promises, but eventually I realized, she really does only want what's best for me.
And the funny thing is, once I answered the call, once I turned around and said, "OK, what do you need me to do?" She replied with, "Oh, you know, just keep it in mind. What you're doing is good, I just want to know that you know that I know that you know that I have plans for you."
Yes, Mother. I know. I'm ready to answer the call. When the time comes.
p.s. the picture is obviously not my sister ;p