I think one of the more interesting things about having your own business is that process of opening up in the mornings. I’m sure everyone has a procedure - I know I do. There are days it’s very automatic and I pass through the routine already preoccupied with what’s coming next in the busy-ness of a life pretty much ruled by a google calendar.
But one day recently, the Lord reminded me to open my eyes and look at what I was doing and what was around me. I unlocked the door to a studio that I used to talk about incessantly with no concrete plan or hope of ever having a place. I pass by the beautiful studio sign that we had made with a little money my dad left to us.
I turn on the Keurig that was donated and think of our desire to have a “coffee shop” alongside the studio, a “gathering place” to relax, talk, study, share and learn. The twinkle lights were put up for our first “interactive/immersive” Aureus performance and have now become a regular feature. O'Shaughnessy's lines about “We are the music makers” is always near the front door. I turn on the A/C control that is hidden behind the word “Inspire.”
When I walk by the stage that was built by my loving husband I can recall its history and be thankful for the annual upgrades and the abundance of donated costumes stored underneath.
As I go to the stairs I pass signs - signs made by students and parents to give people reminders, directions and inspiration. The stairwell has pictures of children who are now teens, and teens who are now adults with kids of their own. The next A/C control says “Cling to what is good.” On the wall is an unfinished phrase in gold lettering about the fact that we are all precious as GOLD and an unfinished work. I’ve complained for years that the lettering is unfinished - but maybe that’s exactly as it should be so we are reminded that we are still “loading…” (this year’s Vessels of GOLD theme) and will never be finished this side of eternity.
The diffusers with beautiful scents from oils sent by another alum bring a smile as I consider how many will get a long workout that day, and wake up computers that were also gifted to us. Three real pianos - what a luxury - and now a keyboard that works.
I sit at a desk that sat at the homes of two good friends before it went to my home, and eventually to my office. A roll-top desk - always thought those were so cool and would hide the clutter that I can’t seem to avoid for very long. (Note: rolling down the top to cover the mess only works for neat people. Messy people have such a mess that they can’t roll the top down anyway.) I see one of the paintings my mom did in her retirement years, and see with fresh eyes a sign about my life sometimes being a full-blown circus that I saved from a calendar given to me by one of our precious moms years ago.
As I sit at this desk, I see a painting by one of the cast that always reminds me of how glorious it will be to be lifted from this world into my Father’s arms, and I see a drawing by another former student of a baby elephant clinging to her mom and trusting her direction. I see flowers and sayings and quotes - and calendars. There is a book about Sondheim (whose work we love) and a live blue fish named Gershwin. The funny ceramic worm from Cedar Key with a crazy starfish on his back became a gift from me to Emily - I don’t know if we ever decided who was who, but maybe it just depends on the day. There are lists of every student in every group prominent for constant reference and reminder of the precious lives we are privileged to touch each week, and cubby boxes naming every teacher we are blessed to have.
I could go on for pages. So many things that remind us of the daily grace and gifts that are so thoughtfully given to us by our loving Father. At the end of the day, I am often exhausted and just anxious to get home to dinner, family and rest. At the close of the day, the lights go off and the eyes droop, but I remain thankful to have this privilege - for whatever time given to me - of overseeing this special Gathering Place.