Thursday, March 4, 2010


I peered at the actors on stage as I clutched the curtain and waited for my cue. A hand tapped my shoulder and whispered, "You're on!" My heart pounded as I moved out for my entrance. Then it hit me, "You don't know your lines! What are you going to say? Those actors need your cues. The audience is waiting!" Panic ensued.

Then I wake up. This is a dream I've had over and over through the years. Slight variations have me stepping on stage, only to realize that in my haste, I forgot something else. I'm center stage in my slip!

You probably heard the one about the nervous actor, who got his first break on stage. He only had two lines but learned them well, practicing over and over, "I heard a pistol shot! Who fired that shot?" He was told to get them right or he'd be fired. Performance night, he dashed out as the gunshot rang, "I heard a shistol pot! I-I heard a shostol pit! Oh-hhh SHOOT! I'm fired!"

Bert, my older brother, was a photographer and journalist for years.
That combo got him a backstage pass to Ryman Auditorium, Home of the Grand Old Opry for you non-Nashvillians.

A new facility was built and part of the old stage encased in the new one. Johnny Cash was but one of many who stood on those wooden planks and sang.
Photos of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash by Bert Tippett

One night Mama and family came backstage with Bert. Wow! A backstage pass and a chance to meet Johnny! Sure enough when Mama spotted him, she boldly pulled her 5'2" frame up to his 6'3" stature with, "Mr. Cash, would you please let our family take a picture with you?"

"Yes ma'am," the polite man in black respectfully obliged.

Instantly, Mama went into director mode and started arranging family members like toy soldiers, trying to get the short ones in front, so everyone could be seen. Somehow that put Johnny in back!
Mama and Gwen upstaged him! So the picture looks more like a family reunion where this tall stranger just walked up and joined.

Minnie Pearl at Ryman by Bert

Bert captured another famous face on tour during our Navy brat years in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Bob Hope in Gitmo by Bert

A backstage pass carries privilege but also responsibility. This life is just a dress rehearsal for the next. But we can peek beyond the curtain, read the script and glimpse the beauty to unfold. We prepare here for living there.

Opening Cue to move on stage: "Well, done, thou good and faithful servant. ENTER into the joy of your Lord."

Security ID: Name written in the Lamb's Book of Life

Script: The Word of God for the people of God, studied and acted out

Dress: white robe of righteousness

Funding: paid for with the blood of Christ

Role (walk-on or star, your choice): Knowing who you are in Christ and living that life abundantly earns top billing, "Thou hast been faithful over few things. I will make thee ruler over many."

"We think we're in the land of the living heading towards the land of the dying. But we're actually in the land of the dying, heading toward the land of the living."
Joseph Stowell

We're spiritual beings having a temporary, human experience. Although backstage is temporary, it's vital to eternity. Everyone stands before the Director and Creator one day.

Walking the red carpet, laid by Him!

1 comment:

  1. Amen, Mama! JUST shared the story of Uncle Bert's photo session w/Johnny Cash w/my mentoree this past week. Great blog: truth
    of heaven's reality revolutionizes today's