While watching the cast of Oklahoma! dance “The Farmer and the Cowman,” blonde-haired Henry strutted his toddler self around in boots while his baby sister Gracie clapped in time to the boisterous music. Henry had adored Seussical with his dad as the Cat in the Hat, and donned a striped hat to identify with him. Now as Matthew his dad played Curley, Henry enjoyed a cowboy hat and two-step. His dad was also MATT THE MIC, a voice actor by day, so Henry was familiar with pretend characters, imagination, make-believe and imitation. But nobody in the cast was prepared for the imaginative conclusion of Act 1 when Laurey’s beautiful wedding dream turns nightmarish as her boyfriend Curly’s nemesis Jud Fry fights Curly to his death.
I watched across the auditorium as Henry frowned, his lip began to quiver and then he mouthed the words, “Daddy,” fearing for his daddy’s life, as tears streamed down his face. The love on his face was heart rending. Matt suddenly realized the problem and raced over and embraced his son, “It’s all pretend,” he explained. The reconciliation and comfort, and tender care both had for one another was a beautiful father/son moment and resonated with the cast. And then I realized why. We don’t get to jump up from the stage and comfort those we leave behind because it’s not pretend. Nor do get one more chance to be held and to say, “I love you,” when we lose a parent. Those two had a moment where Dad got to see his son’s love and son got to feel the reassurance of his father. Today is not pretend, today is a fabulous opportunity to say, “I love you,” or to reach out to someone who needs comfort and reassurance. It’s a privilege. Who needs your love or comfort today? “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.” --Jesus