Tag Archives: Circus

More True Tales from Life in the Circus

My friend who knows I have experience dealing with the media called me to ask for some help. She was promoting the circus which was coming to the town where I live. She needed someone to drive the talent to the local television stations for their interviews. Because I am her friend, I agreed. Then she asked if I still had a minivan. I said, “Yep,” while thinking to myself, just what might I need to be fitting in my minivan? The image that came to mind was a minivan full of clowns. Oh boy.  Then she sweetly asks, “Do you mind having live animals in your car? I will pay for a thorough wash afterwards?” This, I could tell, was going to be interesting.

So, after some discussion, I discover that I will be transporting miniature goats along with their keeper. Phew! I was worried about a tiger or something. The goats travel in large dog carriers. Phew! I had a sense that they probably were not house trained. Then she started to explain where I needed to go to pick up the trainer. As I recall it went something like this, “Take this exit, then you will go about two blocks, turn right on this street, than watch for this gravel/grass road. You cannot really see it, but it’s okay to turn onto it. You will cross over some railroad tracks, and you’ll have to look for railroad car number xx, and that’s where they will be.” I felt like I was in a movie.

I found the trainer, the whole while wondering to myself why I sign up for this kind of volunteer job. He was a very clean cut African-American dressed like a Cowboy. We drove over to the area where the Circus was keeping the animals. He introduced me to his “kids.” Since I only had room for two goats, he had to pick which two to bring. I have never seen such a doting daddy. He honestly couldn’t decide. He just loved his goats. He started to tell me the different tricks each goat could do, and asked my opinion of which I thought he should bring. I thought about television and which trick would be the most visually rewarding for the audience, and suggested which two to pick.

Once we arrived at the first television station, I helped unload the goats. The assistant producer was waiting for us. Immediately after the goats were unloaded, they unloaded. The assistant producer began to freak. She was asking me and the trainer, “Don’t you have something that catches this? Do they do this all the time? Oh, this will not work!” I am speed dialing my friend, who informs me that she told the assistant producer about this reality and the assistant producer insisted that it would not be a problem. Well, apparently it was a big problem!

The trainer got his feelings hurt. He started to decide his time was worth more than this. He was backing out of the interview. I hung up with my friend and made some decisions. I pulled aside the trainer and explained that this assistant producer must have changed her mind. I told him that her behavior shouldn’t keep him from talking about his goats and their awesomeness. He wanted more people to see them at the circus, yes? I promised to drive his goats back to their staging area in the air-conditioning. I then turned to the assistant producer and explained that when a goat has to go, it has to go. No, there was no way to catch or stop it. I suggested she go ahead and have the trainer on the show, but next time, to seriously consider when someone explains that having animals on a set can be a messy ordeal.

I did manage to get the goats safely to their staging area while the trainer went forward with the interview. My friend had another volunteer driver who was able to help from that time forward. I’ll have to share the rest of the Circus story in a future post. And remember these are all true stories–no kidding!

 

Lessons I learned from the circus

My education and upbringing really emphasized having a game plan and goals in life. Leadership was presented as being strategic, setting goals, and working your plan. I thought that being a leader would mean having success. What I apparently didn’t spend enough time thinking about was what type of success would really fulfill me as a person. I honestly never took the time to think deeply about “success,” what it was, what it means, or why I should care. Here I was pursuing it, yet not really even sure what I was pursuing.

I share all of this to say that I am experiencing what my wise friend calls “hang time” right now.  I went to him for spiritual guidance and he always has just the right example to help me visualize what my real problem is. He talked about the circus, which at first, I must admit, bemused me. I thought to myself, “The circus? Really? What does the circus have to do with this serious issue I am having in my life?” But he explained with patience and kindness: “When the trapeze artist swings from one swing to another, there is a point in time when he has to let go of the first swing, hang in the air, then catch the second swing. He has to trust and have faith that he will be able to grab that second swing.”

Sometimes in life, we are in that moment where we have let go of one thing and are waiting for God to show us what’s next. We have to “suspend” between two things. This feels so unnatural, especially for someone like me who has been groomed to have goals and plans and strategy. It feels like letting go of the steering wheel while driving 100 miles per hour. It feels dangerous! Now, I have long ago worked through my view of success which is probably quite different from a worldly view of it. Money, power, status, and position no longer matter to me. These are passing things that definitely do not bring me fulfillment. I am trying to follow God’s strategic plan which has a much longer vision for me, as in eternal! However, in these moments of “hang time” when I am waiting for the next prompting of the Holy Spirit, it feels like a wasteland and seems to last for eternity, even if it is only a blip on the timeline of my eternal soul.