Thursday, June 22, 2006

Costume Musings

Ok, it's an extra post today; a true journal entry that has shown me some things about myself. I'm sharing it because costuming is what started the blog, and costuming will continue to be a large part of my discussion...

Time to do some thinking.

Yesterday, our co-pastor asked me if I was willing to take the official position of wardrobe mistress (well, I think that’s what the position is; we didn’t name it). It would still be volunteer, I think (although I suppose it could evolve into a paid position over time), but I would be under the authority of the church and therefore have some authority to make costuming decisions that I don’t have at the moment. In terms of what I actually do, I’m not sure anything else would change. But I would be the person really responsible for the costumes, instead of just the person who’s trying to help out with the costumes. She specifically said she wanted me to agree with it only if it was my heart and my calling; not just because I saw a need that no one else was filling. She told me to think it over and talk it over with DH before I gave an answer.

What is my REAL heart? What is the deep desire that makes me feel responsible for the costumes, so that when someone else uses them I will come behind and make sure they’re cleaned and put away? I don’t feel that kind of responsibility in other areas…for instance, I do not feel compelled to make sure the baptismal robes are tended, even though if they get lost or damaged I’ll have to help replace them. But I feel responsible for the costumes. Dear Husband said that was probably an indication that costuming was meant to be my job…and he’s ok with it.

But…am I passionate about costuming itself, as an independent thing? I really don’t think I am…as I think and look at what I’ve done, I think my passion is presenting the Gospel and all its truth to people in dramatic form…that includes writing, costuming, acting…and my heart is to do it with excellence, to the highest degree of ‘rightness’ that we can achieve. One of my pet peeves is that Christian drama…both on stage and on film…tends to be extraordinarily cheesy; with shallow characterizations that seem to move and speak and do what they do simply to convey some point, not because they are real characters responding in a manner consistent to their character in a real world situation. People puppets, if you will. And I think that cheapens the message.

Sometimes I write; but my writing is a sporadic thing and always in response to something that’s percolating around in my spirit, not necessarily something produced because I was asked for a piece on a specific topic. Writing, for me, is mostly cathartic. Whether or not anything I write is applicable/performable is kind of a moot point…I write it because I’ll bust a gusset if I don’t. We have other talented writers in the church; I can contribute here and there but I don’t see myself being one of the main writers.

I love acting, but I am not a Great Actress. I’m an OK Actress…I can fill in the corners around the people who are truly gifted and that’s ok. The corners need filling; even the extra characters must be in character at all times to make the main characters believable.

But sewing…I can sew. I’m reasonably good at it, and it’s not a skill that’s as common as it used to be, more’s the pity. Now, mediocre costumes won’t keep the message of a drama from the people, but right costumes will help cause the people to take the production seriously. Sets, costumes, lighting, sound…all those things that aren’t really part of the message but are the package the message comes in …do make a difference. If they’re mediocre, then the audience subconsciously registers ‘church play’ and they maintain a guard in their spirits, expecting some subtle or not so subtle sermonizing. Excellence in that package is part of what will achieve the transportation of imagination that lets drama into a place in the human spirit where teachings and sermons can’t go. So that is why I feel responsible for costumes; why I want to make sure the costumes are right for a performance, then make sure they’re properly cared for after the performance so they’re ready for the next one. Once we get our wardrobe built up and secured, costuming won’t be so much sewing as it will be managing, and it may be that at that point, I will be ready to turn it over to a manager, rather than a seamstress. But until the wardrobe is established, it’s going to take a team of sewing people to get it there, and it will need a seamstress (or at least someone who has a clue about sewing) heading it up.

Could I tell our pastor that I don’t think I could do this, then sit back and let someone else run with it? How would I feel if they’d asked someone else to do this? Honestly? Even though I said ‘It really doesn’t matter who does it, as long as someone does,’ and tried to mean it?

Ouch. For good or not, I really feel like it’s my baby…at least for the time being.

So here goes.


  1. Hi! I don't sew (in fact, it was one of two "D"s I got on my report card in high school), but I love the Lord -- and can see you do too.

    Unfortunately I need to head out and don't have time to read your whole post -- but I will tomorrow and look forward to getting to know you.

    I just started blogging today and am trying to find a few people I can relate to. Have a wonderful day.

  2. Okay -- I have an extra hour now before I need to leave. I enjoyed reading your post. Your expression of passion, your questioning, and your desire to be doing exactly what God wants you to do.

    I don't think that God cares so much what we do as why we do it. I see a deep caring for excellence in your church's drama departments -- and your part of that (as you've been asked) is seeing that the costumes are well-cared for.

    I've often experienced God using me for a specific task -- to build up or tear down (Jer. 1:10) -- for a specific season (Ecc. 3) -- for such a time is this (Est. 4:14) -- and then moving me on.

    Why would you turn it down?

  3. Thanks, Rebecca. I debated whether or not I should even post these 'musings'; you've kind of confirmed that I should.
    The only real reason to turn it down would be if I felt I was doing it just to please my pastor, or because no one else would. That's why I had to take a good look at my motives; to be sure that this really is my appointed task for this season... but, as I said, I feel a responsibilty for this area and I think that's part of the call to do it. So there really is nothing for me to do but take it. ;)

  4. When I read what you wrote you had already answered your own question. Passion for God will manifest in different gifts and your gift is sewing and costumes. So he is using you to achieve the mission of spreading the Word.