Here’s an original “Bob and Evelyn” script I wrote for eleven:eleven a few years ago. It was a weekly piece I modeled very much after the skits done on PRI’s “Prairie Home Companion” — that same tongue-in-cheek, midlife, existential moroseness suggesting we sometimes take life too seriously, while at the same time illustrating a point for the theme of our message that day. Buz Barlow and Charme Robarts did an amazing job as the readers.
This one, which I wrote in May 2013, seems appropriate for our theme this Sunday — “trusting the creative process.” And because the wonderful actor, Jakie Cabe, will be delivering a series of short monologues to connect us to the message on Sunday, I thought a little “screen play” here might get the juices flowing. Have fun with your own “Bob and Evelyn” voices . . . and consider this . . . When it comes to living a creative life of faith, what might it mean to “trust the process”?
Evelyn: (addressing the congregation) These days, we’re feeling a little less stressed. We’re 8 weeks into spring, and it looks like we still have a few weeks left to grow something . . . before summer comes . . . and kills everything off.
Our son and daughter both completed their parole sentences and moved out of the halfway house last month. And because they saw us as the source of all their problems, they chose to leave the country and joined a religious cult in Bhutan. We’re no longer paying for their court fees. So, a couple of times a week, we like to go to a nice restaurant and splurge, have a little wine, good food, and conversation.
Bob goes on Tuesdays and I go Fridays . . .
Well, I was feeling like life was getting fun again.
Then one afternoon I looked over at Bob. He was sitting in his favorite easy boy chair, looking out the window . . . and brooding. And so I asked him . . .
(sympathetic voice) Bob, you’re happy aren’t you?
Bob: (deadpan and sarcastic) Sure, Evelyn . . . ecstatic.
Evelyn: I’m serious, Bob. I’ve been thinking about our kids finding happiness in a tiny Third World country near India. And here we are, in the land of opportunity and plenty; and I sometimes wonder if you’re happy.
Bob: (flat affect, still deadpan) Evelyn, why wouldn’t I be happy? I’m ebullient.
Evelyn: (pleading) Come on, Bob! You always seem so serious. And you hardly ever smile.
Bob: (indignant) What do you mean? (pause, then in a deadpan voice, flat affect) I’m smiling now. Evelyn, I grew up in the Midwest and we prided ourselves on keeping our happiness a secret.
Evelyn: That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Don’t you ever just want to let go of all that? You seem so bored with life. Don’t you ever just want to . . . go out and play around?
Bob: Evelyn, (sigh) we did that last week.
Evelyn: (pause) What? That’s not what I meant! I’m talking about playing a game or something. Just to play. You know, like the other day? When we were at the Andersons’ playing Yahtzee? Why didn’t you join in and play with us?
Bob: Well, what was the point of that game? There’s no skill or competition to it.
Evelyn: It’s a game, Bob! It’s just for the sake of playing . . . Like taking a walk . . . That’s what we should do. We should go for a walk!
Bob: I go to the gym, Evelyn . . . and walk three miles on the treadmill — twice a week.
Evelyn: That’s not the same thing . . . I’m talking about walking, just to walk.
Bob: (in disbelief) Walk where?
Evelyn: Nowhere in particular. Just walking. Just for play.
Bob: Evelyn, if you don’t know where you’re going, then you’re lost.
Evelyn: That’s just it, Bob!! I want to go out and get lost! Walk for the sake of walking. Just to play around.
Bob: Evelyn, you’re not making any sense. How is walking playing?
Evelyn: Well, playing is just doing something for its own sake. Like painting . . . just to paint.
Bob: (suspicious tone) You’re not just trying to get me to repaint the bathroom now, are you?
Evelyn: (pleading again) Bob, just trust me. Get out of that chair and let’s go for a walk outdoors — let’s play!
Bob: I still don’t understand how that’s playing.
Evelyn: (insistent now) I’ll tell you what, Bob . . . we’ll go walking. I’ll enjoy it — and you just pretend to have fun!
Some of you may remember the old hymn, “Trust and Obey.”
(“Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus . . . But to trust and obey”). I sang it a lot as a teen in the Bible Church I attended, and then in several UM churches I pastored . . . in a “past life.”
These days, I wonder if better lyrics might be, “Trust and let’s play, for there’s no other way . . .”.
Hope to see you Sunday. And bring your curiosity as we welcome actor Jakie Cabe!
Save the Date, May 15, for some BIG MAGIC!
“The Unraveling — a Path to the Creative Life”
Featuring Pulitzer Prize-Winning Artist and Journalist,
with Brad Thompson, the Eleven:Eleven Revolution, and musical guests
(and the music of Queen, The Propellerheads, and Erika Luckett)
Sunday, May 15
nine:thirty-nine | eleven:eleven celebration
9:39 & 11:11 am | Wesley Hall
Noon – 3:30 pm | Wesley Hall
Join us for lunch, entertainment, and an afternoon of hands-on fun! Click here to sign up for as many as two workshops lasting 1.5 hours each. For more information, contact Gayle Ammerman (email@example.com).
The Story in the Picture — explore the hidden stories in photography with Chuck Shanlever, photographer/videographer. Bring a camera or smartphone. No cost.
Murals at Home and in the Community — a community mural-making experience with Linda Stolley, professional designer and “muralist.” Wear casual clothing. No cost.
The Play is in the Clay — pottery with Laura Canfield, Dallas area potter. Wear casual clothing. Cost is $10 for materials.
Creative Journaling — start off summer journeys with creative journal and writing tips with Karolyn Stirewalt, President of The Creativity and Wellness Center, Fort Worth. Cost is $10 for materials.