I’m writing another play for the drama group at church. In an e-mail that Abbie sent out not too long ago, she mentioned that Mike wanted us to do a play on Psalm 119 for a series of lectures he planned to do on the law or the psalms or something like that. I don’t know for sure. Originally, I had the idea of having a person on stage, solemnly reading each and every word of this chapter while clowns and animals ran around behind them juggling and clowning and doing a various assortment of carnival type things. This didn’t make much sense, though. I just thought it would be funny. And vaguely artistic in an avant garde sort of way. It would have also been cool to have a dog run across stage at the end, wearing a too-too and pulling a radio flyer cart with a placard that read “Fin” when it was all over.
We would also have read it in French. Because all good avant garde things are in French, right?
The trouble with Psalm 119 is that it is very long and mostly boring. I haven’t been able to make it all the way through the dam thing myself and I’m closing in on the halfway mark of a play that is supposed to elucidate the ideas contained therein. If you have taken the time to click on the link and read the psalm above, aside from being one up on me you might have guessed that it has something to do with Law and that the psalmist is talking about how he recognizes both the necessary stringency of the Law and humanity’s inability to live up to the standard.
But I could have guessed that if you simply said, “It’s about the Law, yo!” Because what else is the psalmist going to say? Man, I just love looking at what I’m supposed to be, how I really am, and the wide gulf that exists between the two. Even atheists can see that, even if they don’t agree with the specifics of Judeo-Christian laws or even if they are moral relativists. I keep thinking that there has to be something deeper. Because everything I read about Psalm 119 (and, despite the fact that I have not read the actual psalm, I have read a lot about it) speaks of its depth, its beauty and its heartbreaking humanity. Unfortunately, they don't tell me what that alleged depth is. They just sit back in awe and (I imagine) speak thusly in a Bill&Ted voice, "Dude..that's, like, deep...and stuff."
Perhaps there is a complete idiots guide somewhere.
If only I understood what it meant to be human. Then I might be able to comprehend the meaning of the verse and thus I would be able to craft a story that is both relevant, interesting, and full of the depth it appears I am incapable of grasping. But there’s the rub. If I understood what it meant to be human, I wouldn’t need to read the Bible in the first place. We’re talking about reality, after all, not fantasy.
So I started a play and,as things stand, it’s a doozy. In fact, I’m not even sure people will want to use it. If it turns out like I’m guessing, it’ll be long and complicated and full of bad attempts at humor; all of which is set against a backdrop of a story that is the antithesis of funny.
No. It isn’t my love life. That actually is funny…in a sad sort of way.
We’re supposed to meet tomorrow to talk about what we plan to do next. Maybe Abbie has some ideas. Maybe Mike wanted to talk about a different Psalm, hopefully a shorter one. Maybe Ronni will have written something that makes more sense. If not, we’ll be stuck with what I have. And what I have makes almost as much sense to me as the Psalm about which I was supposed to be writing in the first place.
Looks like its time for the dogs in too-toos.