build something

Set night one

Originally uploaded by jon.swanson

At Snider High School, during plays, every Thursday night is set night. That’s the night that cast and crew and parents show up to work for a couple hours on the set for the play. It is an exercise in usually controlled chaos because the director believes that students on a student production should actually produce. Parents help with some of the projects, but most of the work is student work.

I’m now working on my fifth production, this being Hope’s third year (2 shows a year). (And, proud aside, Hope is one of two student directors this time.) I’m working on my third stair rail. For some reason, I end up with railings.

This shot shows the stairs at the beginning of the evening. At the top of the steps you can see one white post. That is gone and there is a rail with spindles and a post at the top of the stair and a post at the back of the landing. We got that far last night.

For me, however, that wasn’t far enough. I wanted to get more done because the production is in three weeks. They need the rails for rehearsal. We gotta get it done. And I wasn’t upset or angry or anything. I was mostly disappointed and sad and uncertain.

“We’ll get it done. It’s okay.”

That’s what Hope said when she went to bed last night. She knew how I felt. You see, she had been working with me through the evening. That’s because last week, for the first set night of the show, all of the other assignments had been made and I was waiting for my ‘special project’. That’s what I get. And Hope came over and sat down next to me and said, “I want to work with you this time.”

In the past she has had projects with other people, started before I arrived or because of other relationships. But this time, she wanted to work with me.

So we’ve worked together these two weeks, and she knows what I’m trying to do to fashion a fancy curve and to get things secure enough to lean on. She has watched me trying to create rather than buy, to add something special, and usually running up against limited resources and even more limited competence.

“We’ll get it done. It’s okay.”

That’s what parents usually say to kids, isn’t it? But this is her turf. This is her show. These are her friends. And this is her dad. And she knows, standing there in her blue sweatshirt, that somehow between the two of us, we can figure it out.

And I realized that as we’ve been working together for these years, something other than sets is being constructed.

So what are you going to build this weekend? What are the words of encouragement or trust or community or delight or silence you can build into someone’s life. Someone older as well as younger. Someone who should know better but who needs support. Someone who is working out of their place of comfort. Someone who is trying hard and feels like it isn’t working.

I get words of Hope. Every day. And it helps. But I’m guessing that some how, some way, you are someone’s Hope, too.

And tomorrow?

“We’ll get it done. It’s okay.”


2 responses to “build something

  1. anyone can be someone’s hope…but no one can be our Hope… 🙂 I wish i knew her better. she’s pretty amazing.

  2. Pingback: waiting « Levite Chronicles