Saturday, August 22, 2015

Am I An Idiot?

Why did I choose to audition for American Idiot?

I don't know ....

It's Green Day .....

That's all I knew about this musical .....

I'd never even considered auditioning for a play let alone a musical.

Ben was a performer!  Any chance he got he would love to have an audience.  If there was a TV camera around, he'd find a way to get interviewed.  Talent show?  Sign him up!  Even when we were on vacation in Jamaica!  And he was talented.  He was especially good at impressions!  He could do all kinds of voices from Bugs Bunny and Kermit the Frog, to singing and sounding just like Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Bob Marley and lots of other well known singers.  I used to tell him he should have his own show in Vegas.  In addition he loved to act.  He did several plays in high school and loved to tell the story of being an extra in the movie "Con Air" with Nicholas Cage.  He was fun and funny and full of life.  People gravitated to him.  He was the one people wanted to talk to at an event or a party.  

That's why so many were shocked when they heard he died by suicide in March of 2010.  It was hard to believe this man who loved to make people laugh was so sad on the inside. 

When our family moved to Temecula,  it was only five months after he died.  Kellie was starting middle school, Josh was in fourth grade and Olivia was going to Kindergarten.  We didn't know anyone in the area and were just trying to figure out what life looked like without Ben in it. 

Fast forward a few years and we were told about this little theater group by a neighbor that had just moved in.  Olivia was so excited and had absolutely decided she had to audition for a part in their upcoming production of "Shrek".  Little by little our whole family got "sucked in" to the theater, I was choreographing and I got the other kids to try parts as well.  

Then I heard the theater was doing Green Day's "American Idiot".  This was music that I had loved for years.  Something just clicked in me and I knew I had to audition!  What?!!?!  Me!?!?
But yes, I just knew I had to.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into....

If I had any idea about the story line in this musical I would NEVER have done it.  

Ben was a soldier in the US Army.  He went to basic training exactly one week after we got married.  "Home is where the Army sends you" became our mantra.  I told Ben that my home was in his arms.  Unfortunately sometimes he had to go on assignments without his family, so there were times in our marriage that I was "homeless".  

The first few songs of the musical were ones I knew well and I didn't really feel any connection to.  I was so busy learning how to sing and dance at the same time that I was lost in the process.  It was about this point that I figured out there was a suicide in the musical.  It was the exact type of death that I lost Ben to.  I was relieved to find that the death was not an actual person, but the "killing off" of an alter-ego that was troublesome to the main character.  Yet I was concerned about how it would be depicted and if it would bring up emotions for me or my children.  It turns out that I was one of three choreographed to catch "St. Jimmy" after he shoots himself and carry him off stage.

     The story breaks off into three different parts, one of which is a soldier who goes off to war and gets injured by an explosion.  As an ensemble character I played both the part of a soldier and later a nurse who cares for the injured soldiers.  My two favorite songs on the show are "Before the Lobotomy" and the reprise of that song.  I just loved the harmonies in it.  It's a sad song sung by the soldiers who are hospitalized from their war injuries.  The first starts with one soldier and then it adds on one at a time until four are singing together.  The reprise starts with all four singing and one by one they go out until just one remains.  What I did not know until the rehearsal for that song is that they go out one by one because they each die from their injuries leaving only the main soldier.  I have many friends who lost their loves to war.  Just another reason I would have not auditioned had I known. 

     I almost got through the entire rehearsal schedule without even crying.  Then one day I was listening to one of the last songs in the show, and the although the story line doesn't apply to me, the three words I had to sing were so familiar to me "Where'd you go?".  Luckily I was alone in my car when I heard that song for the first time.  

     At the end of the show the three friends that have separated for different reasons,  return home.  It's in that number that I feel like I've gained life long friends through this show.  We get to hug each other and sing about coming home.  It's bittersweet for me, but for a moment I get to feel at home again.  

     The final song is one where one of our main characters sings about "the one that got away".  A line in it says "thought I ran into you down on the street, but it turned out to only be a dream", I can relate to that line so much, I know many of my widowed friends can too.  I've mostly stopped looking for Ben in crowds anymore, but a broad tall bald man in Army fatigues will still take my breath away for a moment. 

     In the end, what should have sent me over the edge, was strangely healing.  I have no doubt that Bens hand was in "pushing" me to do this.  If he were still here, he would have been in it and I would have been cheering him on in the audience.  I wouldn't have even thought of doing it.  I think I'm starting to understand what my therapist meant when he told me to take the things I loved about Ben and make them a part of me.  I definitely didn't think he meant this.... But I'm a different person than who I was when Ben was here with me.  I'm still figuring out this new person, she's much more fearless in some ways,  and totally terrified in others. 

   I'm grateful for the friends I've made in the past five + years.  A special thanks to my bestie Mia who played the harmonies on the piano on every song for me so I could learn them!  Im super grateful for Dax who has allowed me to keep Ben as a part of our family, and for showing me you can Zing more than once.  


  1. God has been the difference in my own life during times of loneliness, heartbreak, and pain. I know too well what it means of not getting encouraged by others and the hurt that comes from that. I've found that only God always offer encouragement and hope, much better than any human can offer. I can only imagine how it feels to be widowed. I have the taste of having a soul tie broken- I've gotten dumped in the past and it's hurt me so much in the past. The Bible teaches that a sexual relationship (whether marital or premarital) results in the man and woman becoming one (a soul tie). Rejection and abandonment are all painful things. King Solomon said that everything in this world is vanity, everything is meaningless- a chasing after the wind. Eventually whatever we gain in this world (relationships, success, wealth), we lose them all at some point. There is something you can never lose though- God. God surpasses everything in our lives. Our thirsting for things in this world (especially human relationships) is evidence that we need something greater than those things to satisfy us because everything except God will end up failing you in some way. God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God can't die on us and leave us in a state of loneliness. God won't cheat on us, dump us and go off with someone else. Whenever you feel lonely or feel that you're missing something in your life- realize that God wants to fill that void in your life. So many times I've been ignorant about the Bible. We're trained from our birth to live by our 5 senses- thus we look to perceive God with those senses. Most of the time, we can't perceive God with our 5 senses as He is a spiritual being. God has wanted me to develop my spiritual senses and rely on His word (the Bible) to experience Him. I've learned to always see God's word as alive, powerful, and relevant for each day. When I've failed to see that in the past, it's robbed me so much joy and peace. I've learned to look at the Bible as a powerful and active gateway/portal to God. We can try to occupy our minds with so many different things in this world to try and fill the void in our lives or suppress the pain, but all of those things will keep us still hungry and thirsty. God has promised us that if we reach out to Him, He will give us rest, quench our thirst, and satisfy our hunger. If you haven't done that, I hope you will give God a chance. I further hope that God will use you to go and reach others with His word, just like He has used me to reach out to you. Many people in this world are hurting just like you. Many are just looking for a simple act of kindness or a word of encouragement (words are powerful- they can heal and motivate or when used in an evil manner destroy others) which they don't receive from others. Ultimately, many even end their own lives because they feel hopeless and want to end their pain of torment- all because they've failed to see God was nearby all along and they failed to perceive Him with their spiritual senses. God loves you more than any human in this world! He wants to be your companion today and take care of you and your family's needs. I hope you see and explore His love for you today through the Bible- the Bible is the secret source for unraveling peace and joy for you when you can't find them in this world. I can't give you physical copy of the Bible right now, but you can freely access it online at ( May God bless you, heal you and strengthen you and your family. Continue to write and help others for His glory. Claim God's promises to you from His word today. Humans will likely fail to encourage you when you really need it, however, God won't fail. All you need to do is turn to His word. It is available 24/7 whenever you need it- to experience God.

  2. Please read these verses when you get the chance- Isaiah 55:11-13; Jeremiah 49:11; Psalm 146:9; Psalm 68:5; Isaiah 54:4-6; Revelation 21:1-7; Jeremiah 17:5-8; Isaiah 2:22; 1 Corinthians 7:29-35.