So it was another beautiful and mild Summer day today. I love Summer. My pals and I happily discussed world events and recipes and husbands and children in the green chairs on my porch while watching our little ones adventure around the cul-de-sac. (Flashback: a few days ago K.J. told me the flowers were gorgeous and his second grade friend looked at me deadpan and said "I don't even know what some of the words he says mean.") Back to the present. We were discussing the Tony Awards, 'cause of course, we're interested. And my friend Shawna said she saw an L.D.S. actor who was nominated for a Tony -- wow! So she looked him up and was so sad to see he is not practicing Mormonism any longer (and let's face it, he plays Berger in 'Hair,' so -- kinda a nudist in his own special way). It kind of made us sad, and it put my brain right to work...
At eighteen it was in no way my intention to be sitting on a charming front porch watching children that were flesh of my flesh. I fully intended and had full confidence that I would be HIM. (or the female version of, shall we say). That I would be sitting in that theater seat, nominated for my own Tony. I thought it would be no conflict with who I was ... I mean, I might have to miss church for awhile due to Sunday matinees, but I have a testimony and I would be fine! Just fine. Just livin' the dream. Maybe when I got a little older I could start thinking about a family. I had a dream. A very big and consuming one. One where I could use the talents the Lord gave me and feel great about myself and very open at the same time!
Then Ben came in. Through a series of rather painful and thrilling and reluctant events, I fell in love with him ... sort of against my own will ... certainly against the will of the Actress. I struggled. I tried not to compromise. I felt tension with my parents, who, for some crazy reason, only wanted what was best for me. It hurt me. I just. couldn't. give. up. my. dreams.
But I knew that if I gave Ben up, I would regret it for the rest of my life. So I took my wrestle before the Lord. And He let me know it was okay to let go. In fact, He let me know that I was doing exactly what He wanted me to be doing. That for me, I could still love and participate in the Arts, but I needed a family, and that is what He really wanted me to have. So, carefully, I let go. And I flung my arms around Ben with the commitment to never let go of him! If I'm honest, there have been moments where I have thought where I would be if I had chosen that other road. I have worried about what my successful actor friends think of me now. I have had moments where I have ached to reach that part of myself that is only accessed when I have the freedom of expressing it onstage. I have wondered (already knowing the answer) if I did the right thing.
Then today came along. I was thinking all day about that actor, nominated for the precious Tony. So I went to find out for myself. I employed the powers of both Google and YouTube. And my heart sank. As I read and saw who he once was; and how he is now. And how so many other actors -- who I had absolutely no idea were L.D.S. -- once were, and how they are now. People who were raised in the church. People who served missions for the Lord! People who had a testimony. And somewhere along the lines, they chose another path. The oil dripped out their lamps.
And for a very frightening moment, I saw what might have been for me.
I'm not crazy enough to think it happens to everyone! Hello? I know many fine, brilliant actors who hold on to what they know and are amazing examples to me. But I felt it again tonight --
The sure, precious knowledge that where I am right now is undoubtedly the right place for me. Marie.
I think of my husband, my children, my friends, my young women -- I wouldn't know any of them. They wouldn't shape and bless my life. I would just be sitting in that theater seat, waiting to win my Tony. And I don't know where I'd be.
I'm still an Actress, I always ... always will be. It fulfills something deep inside of me. It makes me happy in a special way, a unique happiness that surrounds me when I am surrounded by the Arts.
I'm just so thankful that several years ago, at a critical moment, President Faust said "You don't have to sing all the verses of your song at once."
I am thankful for a merciful Father, and for the sure knowledge that "CONSTANT VIGILANCE!" is the only way for this little girl.