matterofprayer blog post for Monday, May 12, 2014
Prayer Lessons from Improv? Yup.
Yes, it’s so easy to get all pessimistic and full of doubt. Show (or even think) lack of faith. I know, I know. You don’t need to tell me. Especially when things are rough and the going gets even harder, doubt and lack of faith loom large. That can happen to almost anyone, especially when bad, sad, or complex things get piled up. All on top of each other. Crushing people with their heavy, depressing, anxiety-ridden load.
I’ve been thinking about doubt and lack of faith. (On my other blog, A Year of Being Kind, I even wrote a post about doubt yesterday. http://wp.me/p4cOf8-8Z ) A shortcut way of description is pessimism, in a single word. I don’t care whether we call it doubt, lack of faith, pessimism, or some fancy, clinical-sounding, psychological term. But—what could I do about these big-downer, depressing thoughts?
I hadn’t even gone so far as to formulate a proper prayer about doubt and lack of faith when I was reminded of my two-year experience doing comedy improv here in Chicago, in the 1990’s. My first teacher, Charna, pounded into our heads the saying, “Never ‘No, but . . .’ Always ‘Yes, and . . !'” If, in improv, I say “No, but . . . ” in a sketch, I’m putting on the breaks. Stop! Hold it! <sound of car brakes screeching> The sketch runs out of gas, FAST! However, if I say “Yes, and . . . ” then the sketch gains momentum! It has the potential to go to further, greater heights. Being positive and moving forward helps everything.
I think you get where I’m going. This “Yes, and!” principle applies to everything! Even though I tend to be world-weary and pessimistic now, after several decades on this imperfect world, I still pray for God to make me a “Yes, and!” kind of person. Won’t you?
Let’s pray. Dear God, God of comedy, tragedy, and every other part of life, thank You for comedy and the ability to laugh. Thank You for Your promise to be with us even when we cry, or are lonely, or are feeling crushed by the weight of so much, too many things. Help us—help me to be a “Yes, and!” kind of person, positive, not pessimistic. Help us to get on board with You and go along wherever the journey takes us. Thank You for being with us, no matter what. In Your powerful, positive, life-giving name we pray, Amen!
(also published at www.matterofprayer.net