Image via WikipediaI was flipping channels and caught a moment of Joel Osteen (not something/one I generally watch) a few weeks back and he said, "You have a blessing locked up inside of you that's just waiting to be released." Sometimes you just need to speak the blessing in order for it to appear before you. And then a couple weeks ago, I had the privilege of learning just how true speaking the blessing really is.
I worked on a short, horror film a couple weeks back called Green Plastic Sandals. I was on the set for 3 days and met different people everyday I was there. There were a few people who were there all 3 days with me so by the end of the shoot, we were all pretty tight. That 3rd day, I wasn't particularly interested in making anymore friends. In all honesty, I was exhausted and looking forward to getting home so I could put on some sweatpants and sleep. That was pretty much the only thing I had on my mind that day.
I introduced myself to some of the newbies on set, but didn't really hold any conversations with them, preferring to stick with the people I had gotten to know over the last couple days. There was one girl that had mentioned she lived in the Bronx so we briefly talked about where in the BX we each lived respectively....but that was just about the only conversation we had during the shoot.
As we wrapped for the day, I was grateful to be one step closer to slipping into my sweatpants and starting my weekend. The girl from the Bronx offered me a ride to the subway station by Yankee Stadium since it was right by her house. I thought about it for a second and then decided why not...I'll probably get home a lot faster than if I took the train the whole way.
On the way to her car, she mentioned she needed to stop for gas before she could go anywhere. Being that we both live in the Bronx, we had no idea where the closest gas station was. It was the first time I had ever been to Park Slope and everytime I've ever been in Brooklyn, I manage to get lost so I was no help at all. We both got on our Blackberry's (Blackberries?) and started to search for nearby gas stations. She set up her GPS to the apparent closest location and we got on our way. Before I knew it, we had made a giant circle...she had taken a turn too soon and we did a complete 360. I was tired and my patience was wearing thin. For a moment, I considered asking her if she could just drop me off at the closest subway station and giving up on the ride. But almost at the same time that this thought crossed my mind, she said something to the effect that she was glad to have me with her for the ride back. I took a deep breath and settled in. After we asked for directions from someone, we made our way to the busiest gas station I've ever seen. There were cars upon cars backed up, waiting for the next available gas pump. I sighed from impatience...I'm not sure if she realized at this point that I was kind of over the whole thing. Eventually, after careful manuevering, she backed up next to a gas pump and I could feel the tension releasing from my shoulders...knowing that we were back on track and I was another step closer to my beloved sweatpants.
We reset the GPS and were on our way. We started talking and I realized how much we had in common...it made me feel a little guilty for having not spoken to her more while we were on set. We talked about our dating history, our ethnicities (she's Dominican and referred to me as "a white girl with swag"...bonus points for spot-on accuracy haha), acting, music, our families...and somewhere along the line, we got to God and spirituality. I can't remember where it began, but it was the best part of our conversation.
We had similar upbringings and I explained being born and raised Catholic to the transition I made to a Baptist church when I lived in Florida. She had had a similar experience and had stopped going to church regularly because she had found a good church home while living in VA for school and hadn't taken the opportunity to find a new church since she had moved back to NY. I could empathize with this since I hadn't started going back to church regularly until fairly recently. I returned to Iona College where I had faithfully practiced my ministry...music and was grateful to be back practicing my ministry. I invited her to join me at mass sometime since I figured she might enjoy that particular setting.
Our conversation transitioned back to acting and as I told her about the newness of my acting endeavors, we got back to the notion of God and spirituality. I told her about the last year of my life...about losing my job, the heartbreak the loss of that job had caused me, the time I spent in and out of hospitals due to sick family and friends, the time I took to help my friend plan her wedding, and several other events that I had allowed to de-rail my ambitions of getting into the entertainment industry. I talked about my prayers to God to allow my creativity to be my livelihood. It was a prayer that had become a kind of song in my heart. But in the same breath, I told her that although I had been praying to God, I still felt some kind of disconnect from Him lately. I couldn't seem to feel Him or connect with Him the same way I once had. I was feeling lost...even while the conversation was taking place, I felt the sadness this realization had caused.
In saying all of this out loud, I had an epiphany....right there and then while I was talking to her. And because I was so taken off guard by this revelation, I don't think I even told her that it was just dawning on me. I said it as if I had already learned the lesson. The last year of my life had been dedicated to others...not something I was mad about...just a simple truth. However, all the time and energy I had spent on others were blessings unto themselves. It was a blessing that I had the time to be there for those so dear to me. And all of that positivity and giving had come back to me tenfold. It was now raining blessings in my life...the auditions, callbacks, booked gigs...they were the answers to my prayers. My disconnect with God was because I forgot to look inside myself. It was with God's grace that any of that was possible. I had forgotten that God could be inside of me....I was looking for Him everywhere else. In speaking the blessing to my new friend...I can honestly call her a friend even after such a short time....I had released the blessing that had been locked up inside of me. I got goosebumps as I tried my best to explain this revelation....fumbling over my own words and my excitement at the realization.
We arrived at the subway station and I was sad to say goodbye. We traded contact information and I walked slowly into the station...no longer thinking about sleeping...or my sweatpants. I got on the subway and smiled as I reflected on what had just happened. I got off at my stop and as I walked towards my house, I was overcome and started to weep tears of joy. I had spoken the blessing...and I hope that in sharing this that somehow, in whatever small way, I helped you discover...or rediscover...the blessings in your own life.