You are never to stop...
A couple months ago the podcast Meditative Story happened upon me because another show I listen to, shared one of its episodes. There are several episodes I have enjoyed but a recent one featuring actor Josh Radnor moved me to the point I found myself crying while on a run.
For backstory, I learned that Radnor came into acting by accident when a friend asked if he would sit with her for moral support during a high school play audition. As he sat watching students, he found himself thinking he could probably do this and then was coincidentally asked by the theater teacher, “are you here to audition?” He decided to and ended up landing a part, which changed the course of his life.
A moving moment in the story comes about a year later when after having performed in Cabaret his guidance counselor, who he admired and enjoyed, asked him to meet her in her office the following morning. He said the conversation was brief but in that moment she said in a reassuring yet firm manner, “You are never to stop acting. Even if you become a lawyer and do community theater, you must keep acting. Promise me.” Radnor says that he had absolutely fallen for acting by that point but hadn’t confided that to anyone yet but she had seen it in him. He also says her reassurance was helpful in the awkward, fragile teenage years we all know especially with the the social pressure he felt to grow up and live a “normal life” in suburban Ohio.
His counselor's instruction “you are never to stop acting”, reminds me of a question posed in Parker Palmer's Let Your Life Speak, “what can I not stop doing?” Palmer talks about this as the road to discover one’s vocation, which was the second part of his counselor’s statement. To continue acting regardless of whether or not it became his work or not. Fortunately of course, he has brought them together.
Hearing the way Radnor felt about acting but also that his counselor recognized the same thing in him leaves me again again pondering, “what can I not stop doing?” and seeking to recall the moments when people have said in one way or another “You should never stop…"
If something comes to mind for you I’d enjoy hearing it.