by Beth Diane Bradley
My son, Dylan, was in a school play in the 6th grade, and I still remember a conversation I had with one of the other moms. She told me her son wasn’t chosen for an acting part. His only job was to open the curtain, so she didn’t plan on going to the play.
I told her I thought he had a pretty important role, because if the curtain wasn’t opened, no one would be able to see the play. She thought that was a strange thing to say, but I really meant it.
Being the one who opens the curtain so others can see is a powerful metaphor to me. There have been times in my life when I have been asked to open the curtain, and times when someone has opened it for me.
Recently, it’s been the later, and I am ever so grateful. Middle age is often a time for reflection, and ultimately for change. Life events like divorce, an empty nest or the passing of parents can take their toll. A few years ago, I experienced all three — and then my beloved dog died. It was definitely time for me to clean my spiritual “house” and find a new direction in life.
When I was in high school, I loved the theatre, but I couldn’t figure out where I fit in — other than as a member of the audience. I was too shy to even consider trying out for a part, and my main task on the tech crew was sitting on the boards while some boys sawed them in half. I still don’t aspire to be an actor, but my bucket list for my “third act” now includes writing a play.
The metaphor also works in regard to education. A good teacher can “open the curtain” for a student and reveal a whole new world. Dylan didn’t get an acting role in the play either, but found his niche on the tech crew, which sparked an interest in technology. He later met a teacher who helped him develop his passion into a career in network administration.
For him, the road to destiny was a direct route. In my case, I ran into some road construction requiring a necessary but annoying detour. It’s natural to complain about those detours — we all do it — but as they say, sometimes it’s the journey, not the destination that matters most.