Some nights I catch myself rehearsing the lines I’ve written with my actions: Mistakes I’ve made, what I should not have done and what I have left undone, my goofs, my sins, and everything in between. I repeat the ones I learned by rote: The ways I’ve been hurt, the ways I’ve been left behind or rejected.
I am my own worst critic. I am trying to be a person of action and not just passivity, of creation and not just consumption, of grace and not just criticism and judgment. But I am also my worst enemy in this regard, and I keep remembering all the ways I fight my own best intentions by simply not doing anything differently than I would if I didn’t belong to Christ.
(What do I stand for? What do I stand for? Some nights, I don’t know anymore.)
I hear all the breakdowns of the common intellectual arguments for the faith, and start believing that maybe this is a mistake after all.
The thing about Lent is that we’re supposed to be preparing for resurrection, for the great drama of Jesus’ life and death and life again that we are all actors in. But what they don’t tell you about rehearsal is that it can be hard to unlearn old habits. It’s hard to learn your new lines. It’s hard to inhabit the new character you’ve been assigned.
I am an actor trying to learn the part so deeply that I will one day BE the part. Until then, I keep fumbling over the stage directions. I keep forgetting. But the director is a patient one. He keeps working with me, and all my fellow players, until we get it. When opening night comes, He will stand and applaud like a proud dad, or a proud lover, even as He takes a bow.