Standing backstage, I realize how much of my life mirrors this space I inhabit with rows of choristers, their accompanists, and other parent assistants. Together we work to prepare for a concert about to begin.
I pass tissues, bandage fingers, collect trash. I smile, encourage, and whisper final blessings as sparkling children step out to take the stage. Then the space is empty and quiet.
I wait backstage to receive the choristers after this first number and to help them prepare for the next. In this waiting I look around, take deep breaths, collect my thoughts.
Empty bins line the wall. Some rest on a rolling cart. Their contents decorate the auditorium. A tall, glittering Christmas tree, large golden stars, white lights, and colorful hanging banners all have been pulled out to say Welcome Christmas.
Music drifts back, muffled by the curtains and acoustic shell that surrounds the risers. I know its sound. I have listened as it was created, sat as singers worked through it, encouraged and supported those creating it.
I imagine the conductor in her sparkly black gown on stage, drawing out the beauty of the children’s voices. This is her gifting and glory, and it is apparent as this concert begins. My glory is in support. It is backstage that I sparkle.
I navigate behind the scenes well so that others can take their place on the stage. Behind the scenes work happens to create the magic. Laughter, tears, blood, nerves, these all bring life to a performance as it is pulled together and placed on display.
It takes hours backstage to roll out a polished performance. Not all get the privilege of knowing where broken spotlights hang waiting for repair or how many plastic totes it takes to pack up the Christmas sparkle.
I see all of this and more.
My gifting is in seeing and supporting. It is calling forth potential from deep inside of another. It is in naming glory, and this day is glorious. These children and their directors are glorious.
I sit with myself in this tension. Rather than blessing my backstage beauty, I question what is wrong with me that I am not the one on stage. Not just here but in other realms of life. Why do some seem to hold the spotlight naturally, to pull things together, to speak from the front lines with confidence?
Ideas come to me. Memories. Thoughts. We cannot all crowd the up front space. Doing my job well supports others in theirs, and as we each find our unique place, we create beauty. It is not about who is center stage but about how we come together in support of one another for the sake of something bigger.
Deep gratitude and joy flood my heart as I witness and participate in the thunderous applause and standing ovation following the final number. Glory radiates, flowing over the crowd as we celebrate together those on the stage, and I celebrate inside the backstage beauty.