Last night I was invited to go to a dinner and play with a group of friends from work. It was a wonderful evening and I enjoyed the play and the company very much. It was a late night though, so I didn’t get to blog last night and I wanted some time to mull over how to write the blog post. The play we saw at our Phoenix Theatre was called “Rancho Mirage.” It is about three couples who gather for a dinner party where long-held secrets, relationships, and discontents are brought to the table. The name of the neighborhood is Rancho Mirage. It was funny, but even as I laughed, the play seemed to hold a certain weight – its themes were thought-provoking, even convicting. And I couldn’t help but feel that there was much more to the material than what first met your eye. I thought about it all day and there are several different themes I could bring out, but I’ve decided to focus on two quotes from the play that really stood out to me.
As the storyline develops, we see that all the characters are hiding behind masks of who they wish they were, and as these masks fall off they face their fears and disappointments. One couple is facing bankruptcy, one is divorcing, and the third is grappling with the pain of not having children. They all are struggling with the fact that life has not met their expectations. And one of the characters says “I used to live my life and now I just spend my days.” Wow! That statement floored me and made me take a serious look at how I perceive my life. How am I using the time that’s been given to me? It challenged me to not get sucked into viewing my life as an endless dull routine, but to fill my days with meaning.
In the second act, once everything has been exposed, one of the characters observes, “Bankruptcy, like divorce, never happens suddenly. It happens slowly, one small decision at a time until it’s too late.” This is an incredibly astute observation. Much of the events that happen in our lives are the results of cumulative actions built up over a long period of time. Tiny inconsequential choices slowly build up until one day we realize how far we’ve gone. As I watched the lives of these characters unravel, I really only had one thought: “I do not want this to be me.” I don’t want to wake up one day to find I have nothing because I’ve been clinging so tightly to myself. It was a stark reminder of what happens when you give in to selfishness. However, there’s a hopeful corollary to this truth. Just as bad decisions piled up over time negatively impact us, we can choose to make wise choices that will build us into strong, grace-filled people. Becoming who we want to be is just a single choice away. And over time tiny choices to forget ourselves and to choose a better way will take hold and will shape our lives into something meaningful. The characters in our play discovered this. They realized what they had been living for (and hiding from) was only a mirage. Each of the characters then make a choice that starts them moving forward again; that starts them living instead of spending their lives. The couple facing bankruptcy chooses to be grateful instead of fearful of their future. The couple facing divorce chooses to give love to each other instead of resentment. The couple facing a child-less future chooses to give their lives to adopt two children. What I loved about this ending was that none of the circumstances these characters were in had changed; but they had changed because they made a single choice, a change in their perspective. The play was immensely convicting, but also hopeful, and it offered the viewer the same opportunity to confront the mirages in their lives and to choose something real instead. I left the theater that night with one thought… how will I spend my life? That choice starts now – may we all use well the days that have been gifted us.
Blessings to you,