I have a young [in his 50s] friend who is an actor. He’s done some TV [Law and Order, etc] and movies [in a film with Robert DeNiro and in the Matthew Broderick remake of The Music Man, etc] but he’s chiefly a Broadway actor. A solid but not spectacular career. No star on his door. Then he got a break. A Neil Simon play! Opposite Mary Tyler Moore! Except… MTM was old [and her diabetes was probably finally catching up to her]. She could not remember her lines. Simon was old, too. He got disgusted with her and just gave up on the whole project. Both MTM and Simon died not long after. There went David’s big chance.
I have another actor friend, in her 70s. She acts in the same town where David grew up. In fact, David’s father was once the board chair of the community theater where Ann acts. She appears not only in regular productions of the theater but in an “old people only” acting troupe she founded. She’s the same age MTM was when she could not remember her lines. When Ann’s in a play, she runs her lines every day. Some days several times.
I have learned from them, learned the importance of knowing our lines in old age. So I run my lines every day, the lines that are important for me to remember, like “Just do the next right thing” and “You don’t have a soul; you are a soul,” and “Our Father, who art…”
A couple of Easters ago I encountered Brenda in the fellowship hall of our church. I greeted her with “The Lord is risen.” She said, “Wait… I know this one… wait for it… He is risen indeed!” she exulted, so happy she remembered her line.
That’s the line for today. Let’s run it…
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
John Robert McFarland
Life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards. Kierkegaard