Hi, Family!

Last night was story time about when to lift. Tonight is a double lesson but no story time. Let’s go!

UTR Lesson #3 โ€“ Excellence speaks silent volumes.

Each person below had a specific job and they were exceptional in it. Their excellence was so pronounced that they were asked to do it for years.

Some of them, like Dr. Yancey (bottom right) had academic preparation to adequately describe the miracle of Lazarus’s death. I’ve never been so excited to hear about death in my life. Trust me, Family, you will almost throw your shoe during his soliloquy. Get the recording. You’ll also see him sing opera, but don’t tell him I told you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Pastor Mark V. Brown, Sr. and his shofar (top left). Powerful. Each performance, he would sit patiently and wait until his appointed time. No fanfare. Gentle smile. Focused and calm. I admired his position and stewardship of such a revered symbol.

Mr. Hubert (top right) built the props and orchestrated his team like a conductor leads a symphony. He knew every piece of every part and could move something in record time. When I asked him if he went to school for it, he said no… God showed him what to do. *mind blown*

Ms. Ruthie was my sweet firecracker (bottom left). Everything was on stage because of her amazing stage management. Impeccable, small, and mighty. With her white gloves and super stare, this production ran like a ship seasoned for the seas.

The voice of Antonio Bowman is one to be marveled. I can’t tell you how many times I cried and jumped when he sang during the Triumphal Entry. Every year, that’s the voice you’re waiting for and every year, he sings like it’s his last (his words, not mine). I also can’t tell you how many times we laughed backstage. Jokes are good for the soul and we had plenty.

Excellence is consistent and UTR resurrected that truth in me. I’ve been working in the arts since I was child. From then to even now, people assumed I didn’t need help because it didn’t look like it. A sliver of burnout was peeking over the horizon and I prayed it wouldn’t rise. I prayed that God would resuscitate me for the rest of the journey because I love my lanes. Whether behind the scenes, hosting a principal part, or delivering several parts, excellence was everywhere that weekend and it was life-giving. Then, God gave me Lesson #4.

UTR Lesson #4 – A dream takes a village.

The beauty about a dream is that isn’t yours.

The birth plan of a vision can expand well over 9 months, but the best part is that you’re not alone. You’re actually part of a symphony. You just haven’t met the rest of the musicians yet.

When I observed these moments in time, I couldn’t help but notice a proverbial hum of workmanship in every area. The make-up team was preparing the dancers for their next scene. The sound technicians checked levels. The gloved hands of the crew waiting for their cue to raise the curtain or the actor in his harness. Ashlee and I formed a tag team to take down a disciple’s braided hair (representation is important in Biblical performances, by the way).

When excellence is at work, God will bring the village. He will send the help. I believe that now more than ever.

Being a creative can be daunting, but being a creative in Kingdom arts can compound the fatigue. The idea is that you don’t need anything or anyone because you’re doing it for God and God has everything, so hey… you’ll be alright. Just keep going. Who cares if you have one leg left, an eyeball barely in socket, and a sore throat? Who cares if you can’t pay your bills because you’ve donated all of your labor? God is good! Keep going! Well, that’s a narrative I vow to change โ€“ in a different avenue, so let’s get back to this road.

The miracle of UTR is that two people multiplied into many hands which created lighter work, yet the excellence was not watered down. That’s amazing to me. No longer do you have to toil in a silo (talking to myself).

What a village, we were. My mother and aunt served food to hundreds of cast and crew. My two sisters/Workmanship Incorporated teammates were part of the make-up squad. Two young ladies that grew up in the production were now applying make-up and lashes on two veteran department directors. I helped one year and brought others. Others helped and brought more others.

The village.

There goes that Lesson #1 again.

Simply put, the vision seems too big because I am not designed to carry it alone.

God will send me my village to help me carry out his instructions. I no longer feel heavy with doubt that I won’t be able to carry the vision to term. I see what’s possible if I just do my part in excellence.

The same goes for you, Family. If you’re standing next to an incredible task, know that you’re not alone. Someone else is standing next to one and possibly the same one. Looking up at it and getting dizzy.

We have help coming. Encouragement, financials, employees, volunteers, venues… it’s coming. And if you look around โ€“ just pause and look โ€“ you might find that your help is already here.

I’m praying for you. We got this. Keep dreaming.

Peace & Thanks for listening. I love y’all.