Phew. Is it Sunday already? I’ve lost track. Just came off an intense week of tech rehearsals, leading up to opening night for the musical, Mary Poppins. Wasn’t sweeping any chimneys personally, more of a partner to the beloved Producer. This one goes down in the books as, no contest, the most difficult show I’ve ever worked on. The trip to that first curtain has been nothing short of a battle; and the heroes who faithfully fought through the fracas ~ the cast and crew. The conditions these poor people were forced to work in were nothing short of fierce. For two months they sweat it out in a theater that regularly measured interior temperatures in the 90s (dancing, no less.) We couldn’t afford to pay for air-conditioning until tech week, (the additional $85 an hour would have shut us down,) so the bulk of their work was done while baking in a thespian oven. It's a miracle they got through it all on their feet. I wish you could see it, it's phenomenal; all done while having to endure those conditions, it didn't seem humanly possible, but they did it. They believed in the show and each other, and they made the magic happen. I’ve been continually amazed and humbled by their dedication and talent. True to the theme of the musical, they are living, breathing reminders that miracles happens all the time, if we only let them.
Their triumphant opening reminded me of one of my own miracles.
I’m a numbers person. Not in a mathematical sense, (anyone who knows me would cackle at that misinterpretation, a brainiac I ain’t,) no, for me, they just always seem to show up in inexplicable ways. Someday, I’ll recount the full story, but for today’s abridged version, suffice it to say, there is one number in particular that has been nothing short of miraculous, 923. So many profound things have centered around that number, I marvel to think of it all. The following account is one of my favorites.
To fully grasp the significance, a bit of back-story first. Several years after the intial incident related to 923, I was given an insight into the meaning. At that time, I regularly read this little devotional magazine at night when I got into bed. Each day of the month had a single page recounting an inspirational story and there was always a line of scripture on the bottom of the page. It was a peaceful way to shut off the light. On September 23rd, (the date was numerical on the top corner of each page, so it was printed, 9/23,) the post was about having faith. When I finished reading the thought for the day, I looked down at the passage, it was Mark 9:23, “All things are possible to he who believes."
Back to the favorite. During that same year, I was working to build a non-profit film company with a group of friends. Every time I drove to one of our planning sessions, I would see the license plate number 923 on a car in front of me. After my newfound understanding of the number, it felt like a confirmation that my crazy dream was possible. Around that same time, BK, who was tired of sharing our only set of wheels, decided to buy me a secondhand car. There it was, the perfect opportunity to order vanity plates, with Mark 923, to bookend my sweet ride; a powder blue, 77 Nova. That is, until I realized how expensive it was and knew the extravagance wasn't justifiable. By that time, our third child had come along and although we couldn't have been happier about our expanding family, money was pretty tight. So, I let the idea go, and figured I'd let the numbers fall where they may. We went to pick up the new plates and BK waited in the car with the kids. I walked into the motor vehicle location and slid into the shortest line. In a matter of minutes an officious clerk handed me a bundle with what appeared to be my new license plates, wrapped (and this is no exaggeration,) in tissue paper and a separate plastic bag, that was taped shut. I don’t know about you, but my limited experience with new plates had always been a no frills, here's your plates, don't let the door hit you on the way out approach. Metal slabs directly off the assembly line. This pristinely wrapped and sealed offering was new territory. So I waited until I was outside in the alley between the front of the building and the back parking lot to open my neatly bundled package. I slid the plates out of the plastic and pulled back the tissue paper. Without the ability to stay firmly planted on my feet, I fell against the brick wall behind me. The number on the plates was 923. What are the odds? My heart was pounding out of my chest. An overwhelming sense of gratitude washed over me and I paused in awe. Even if I couldn't afford the marker of my inspiration, The Big Man had the resources. Talk about an affirmation.
BK was transferred shortly after that; I had to say good-bye to the friends and the dream. Although it’s been a good many years, the vision is still there, and a flying nanny, with a voice like an angel, brought it back to life. The cast of Mary Poppins knows, even when the deck is stacked against you, great things can be achieved.
For those who believe, all things are possible.
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