This Holy Week has been a really powerful time for me - I made more progress in my prayer life in the past six days than in the rest of Lent put together. For several months I hadn't really felt like I was as close to God was I was, say, this time last year, and I didn't really know what was wrong. I felt like there was a veil between Him and me, and I was waiting for Him to take it down. This week, I woke up.
First, temporarily giving up the majority of my Disney obsession was the best thing I could've done for myself. It helped me get my priorities in order. Sure, I missed it a lot at first, and I'll be glad to get back to my message boards, but I was able to do other things with my time. I spent more time on homework and other things. I found out that my Disney friends and I have so many things in common, and Tweeted regularly about random things. So they became actual friends, not just Disney friends.
Second, I was involved in my first-ever Passion play this year. At my high school, the senior class put on a "Living Way of the Cross" every year. It wasn't nearly the same experience as a real Passion play. My friends Kori and Theresa did an amazing job writing the script and directing. The actors were perfectly suited for their characters. My friend Ashley blew me away as the Blessed Mother, and I saw some of my guy friends in a completely different light after watching them portray Pilate, pharisees, and Jesus Himself.
Everyone really threw themselves into this play, from the main actors to the singers, from the makeup artists (who made "Jesus" look sickeningly bloody) to the light technicians. It was amazing to watch the whole process unfold, and to see everyone strengthening in their roles. At the first few practices, our directors advised us to take a few minutes to "get into character." I admit that at first I thought to myself, "Really? I'm not a theatre major. I don't know what I'm doing. I have a lot of homework, so I'm ready to just say my few lines and head home." But by the third practice or so, I realized that getting into character really made a difference.
I actually had two roles: I was part of the mob scene, and I was a weeping woman. Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum! Getting into character meant concentrating on being really angry, ready to scream out, "Crucify Him! He's a blasphemer, surely He deserves to die!" while impatiently crossing my arms over my chest. Then a moment later I had to switch to being distraught, sharing in His anguish, crying, "Master, how could they have done this to You?" Um, talk about difficult. But it was a very rewarding process. Last week, I focused on being a weeping woman with my free time. I listened to "Via Dolorosa" over and over again. I watched clips of Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" on YouTube. It really made a difference with my mindset.
During the performance, I looked at my sisters who were playing the other weeping women, and I saw them differently. It was like I was really seeing them as women of Jerusalem instead of the girls I know every day. I looked into the eyes of Christy, the girl who played Veronica, and I saw real pain in her eyes - shared pain that we felt as we bore witness, centuries after it actually happened, to our Savior's earth-shattering death. The veils on our heads were at first annoying pieces of cloth that refused to stay in place, but by the end of the experience I felt even more beautiful wearing it. I guess that's what getting into character is all about.
Though I'm really sad that the experience is over, I'm so glad I put in those few hours a week into that play. I got closer to my friends and to Jesus and His Mother. It made me realize how blessed I am, and how much He loves me. It woke me up from the selfish stupor I'd been in - the problem wasn't that God wasn't reaching out to me at all. The problem was that I was blowing Him off most of the time, putting time and energy into hobbies instead of Him.
My current favorite song is "Something Beautiful" by a Christian band called needtobreathe. I was listening to this song in the car on Wednesday when my revelation hit me like a sack of Easter eggs. This is the chorus:
"Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire,
'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees.
I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful."
This has been the best Holy Week ever, by far.
I hope everyone has a blessed Easter!