The Show Must Go On!

The red curtains of the stage are opening for the theater show

The show was cancelled. Or was it? Well, the show that we were used to seeing was, and magically it was substituted with 1000 shows that were so inspiring, so creative, so organic, amazing, wondrous and…fun, that it taught a lesson:

We human beings are the most creative creatures on the planet.

I sat in a chair on the shore of a tiny lake, a pond really. A place I’ve sat many times over the years and a few times on one our nation’s most glorious and celebrated days: the Fourth of July. In previous years there were quiet moments, wonderful weather, moonlight skies and gulf breezes.  There were never fireworks. Unless I intentionally traveled with friends and family to a community-organized, officially sanctioned event (we all do! Er, or did), the only thing I’d ever witnessed beyond these amazingly choreographed shows were an occasional Roman candle or pack of Black Cats set off by errant miscreants loose on the streets.

And then came the recent chaos. Quarantines, shut downs, buzz kill.  Back-to-back unrest. From Covid to protests, we were sequestered by others for a variety of reasons. On this ultimate American holiday, the birth of our nation, we had been cancelled. The symbolic gathering that unites us all was verboten: fireworks!

And then as if channeling Gandalf standing on that stone bridge shouting “None shall pass!,” an entire community said “Enough!” And with that, 1000 shows of light and sound and celebration broke out over a typically reserved community. All across the county one could hear the cacophony of homemade shows fueled by self-funded ordinance. There were no organized movements making this happen. People wanted some sense of normalcy, of what was and what will be again. Backyard fireworks displays of a fairly sophisticated nature were unleashed to much fanfare and appreciation. 

As I sat there, I realized this amazing event told me that we are an amazing community. This wasn’t anger or dissatisfaction or destruction. This was creativity and community and communication.

Upon returning to my neighborhood after the holiday weekend, a neighbor asked how my “4th” was. I was about to review these experiences with him when his face lit up and he blurted that the most amazing thing happened and that he’d never seen the (my new) neighborhood behave like this before.  He shared a similar experience to mine with the same awe and enthusiasm, finishing with the statement, “I hope it continues, this was so much better than anything organized in the past.”

I have no list of ways you should behave here. No tips on how to better yourself. As I witnessed on July 4th, you’re already better than anything! Keep going. Swim upstream. Remember this: as Alexis de Tocqueville said most eloquently — 

“In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them.”

Let’s all of us be that courageous writer again. As human beings we find a way to enrich our lives, to lead a fulfilled existence no matter what. 

As I pondered these ideas I caught the last moments of the ubiquitous July 4th classic Independence Day. All had retired for the night and, alone, I watched Randy Quaid race toward the alien ship, intent on sacrificing himself to save humanity. “Hello boys, I’m back!” he declared. Yes, yes we are.

If you want to consider a different way to communicate with others; whether professionally or personally, I invite you to reach out and explore the possibilities with me.  What could your next conversation be like if your approach was to focus on their agenda first? Here’s a link to start creating that discussion right now!

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