Grace: A Comedy About a Tragedy About A Romance
A few people know this already, but I figured I’d share the news with everyone else, not that you cared, but maybe you can help…I’m writing a play.
So far it has been really fun. It all stemmed from an idea, an idea that I’m going to write about here in a second, about being a broken person. I’ve quickly learned when I’m write this play I can’t get my point across like when I’m writing like I normally do. I can’t just have a character tell you the entire plot in one monologue and expect to get away with it. I can’t tell the audience what they should be feeling and thinking, and so it’s been a little tricky getting the characters to do what I want them to, and getting them to say what I want them to say, without actually saying it.
Without revealing much of the plot of this play, I will tell you it’s a comedy about this guy, Taft, who goes through some crazy stuff, has an accident, and ends up having something that he sees as a flaw and a problem. He has a hard time being understood by the people around him, quite literally, and he ends up getting frustrated. Taft thinks that he is a flawed and broken person, and as the play goes on, we see him trying to do everything in his power to fix himself.
In writing stories and watching movies and reading books, you notice that the hero of the story always goes through hell before he ends up on the other side. In almost everything I’ve read about the hero’s journey, it references Star Wars. Up until about a month ago I had never seen Star Wars, but after I watched them I understood why it is the perfect telling of a hero’s tale. Luke Skywalker was just a whiney little brat in the beginning of the movies, but by the end he knows his purpose. Not only does he know his purpose, he has actually achieved it. But he had to go through a lot to get there, through a lot of wrong turns and mistakes before he got to the end.
Right now, I’m in the process of writing Taft through hell. I’ve already got the final scene in my head, but I have to get him up to that point before I can write that scene, and no one will care about the last scene without all the hell first. But basically I’m writing Taft through the conflict of his life, the part where he sees himself as broken and the parts where he is trying to fix himself. It is both a pleasure and a torture to write this part, because this is the part where I relate to my character. The story of Taft is the story of you and me, it’s who the audience will connect to because we have all been there…broken and longing to be fixed.
As a Christian, this has been my whole life – pointing out my flaws and trying to fix them. It never seems to work though. Who would have thought that the same things I struggled with ten years ago are the same things I struggled with ten minutes ago. I am a broken person in need of repair, and so is Taft.
Luckily for me, I have grace. Unfortunately for Taft, he doesn’t have grace like I do because I have to write grace in as another character. I said I was writing a comedy, but it’s really a comedy about a tragedy. And I suppose the tragedy is about a romance. So the play is really a comedy about a tragedy about a romance. I can’t write Jesus in to the play as a hurricane that swoops up Taft in a whirlwind and fixes all of his problems because that doesn’t happen in real life. Jesus can’t come in to the scene in a pink bubble like the good with in the Wizard of Oz to fix Taft because he doesn’t do that in real life (and I don’t think I’ll have enough cash for the special effects). I have to write grace in a different way, and that is frustratingly beautiful. I can’t really tell you about it obviously because it is the climax of the story, after the part where Taft wants to die because he thinks he will never be fixed, but I can tell you what I want the play to tell you…
In the end, Taft realizes that he was never really broken. Even though he has this flaw that never gets fixed, he understands that it didn’t need to be fixed, rather it needed to be completed. Taft realizes that it wasn’t a flaw as much as it was a vehicle to understanding the grace in his life.
Which brings me to my own life, and my own flaws, and my own brokenness. Jesus is crazy because the things that separate us from Him are the very same things that bridge the gap to Him. Without my flaws and brokenness, I do not understand sin or being broken. I can try to fix my flaws and correct my sins, (which is important and good) but I will always wake up tomorrow and continue to sin. It is God’s grace that makes us complete and in no need of repair. Taft goes through the whole play trying to fix himself, only to find out that he never needed to be fixed, he only needed grace and it is that grace that completes him. I spend my entire life chasing after things to try to fill the voids in my life, trying to fix the pain of sin, but in the end I have to realize that nothing will fix me except for grace.
A couple months ago I was talking to one of my best friends about some crap that has been going on for a long time, I was confessing my sins to him which was really weird because I’m really bad about accountability and that stuff, so airing my dirty laundry isn’t easy. But we got to talking about how to remedy the situation and how to overcome some of the things I was dealing with. I told him about my struggles in the past about trying to be a good little boy and all that, and he quickly pointed that I was trying to clean up my act for God, but that God had never really asked me to do that in the way that I was trying. It struck me as odd that all this time [I] have been trying to please God by not sinning anymore and failing at it, rather than working [with] God to have him help ease that burden. God gets no pleasure in us trying to fix ourselves, that’s why he sent Jesus to die so that God can work WITH us to free us from sin. Just as Taft needs the girl at the end of the play, I need Jesus and his grace right now and always. We cannot do life alone; we will never find what we are looking for that way.
We cannot do the play of life alone, we can’t give every line, we cannot sword fight ourselves, we cannot fall in love with ourselves, and we cannot fix ourselves. Grace has to enter the scene and we have to let her speak her lines, we have to let her move around the stage, to flow from one side to the other, we have to let Grace sweep us off of our feet, and we have to fall for her, and then we have to embrace and kiss.