I’ve just watched by youngest daughter, Abigail, in her first middle school production of “Beauty and the Beast”, and she did fantastic.
No, she was not “Beauty”, nor one of the major speaking rolls, but she was the best damn villager in the kingdom. She was at every practice and spent hours on her contribution to a wonderful show and experience, it was very important to her and our family.
As you all know I’m not a fan of “participation” trophies or giving people acknowledgements for just walking through the paces of their lives. I have repeatedly said that just showing up should be the minimum expectation, not a goal to be celebrated.
However, to take even minor role in a show isn’t showing up, its taking a risk and starting out. The best things in life comes to us when we show courage, and it takes courage to be in any situation where you are put out in front of a group of people. I’ve been told that fear of speaking in front of a crowd is the most common fear. For a 13 year old girl overcoming that fear is an amazing feat of courage.
In Shakespeare’s play “As You Like it” there is a monologue by Jaques in Act II Scene VII that I’ve always like;
“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances…”
The disappointments in life do not come from the failures on the stage, or by delivering a poor performance. The disappointments in life, the ones you regret at 2am in the morning while you are struggling to sleep, are the ones that come form the failure to take the stage in life. Missing a opportunity to be part of the play is the only real failure.
Abby’s blessing of having Asperger’s has taught me a great deal about life that I did not fully understand till she showed it to me through her unique interaction with her world. She lacks the limiting social cuing of fear of rejection that most of us feel, she charges into every new situation full of hope and confidence. She takes the stage of her life with the certainty of purpose that most of us search our whole lives to obtain. Its hard to fully explain to someone without an Autistic child but within all the limitations of autism is hidden the some remarkable gifts of truth and perspective. She see the world as a stage and is ready for the next act.
My hope for all my children that they see the world as this wonderful stage, and that the seize every opportunity to be a part of every act. The exits come much too soon, enjoy the moments and the limelight.