Rediscovering the meaning of family

Old friends gather at Rhynsburger Theatre, Columbia, MO.
Old friends gather at Rhynsburger Theatre, Columbia, MO.

I learned a valuable lesson about family this weekend, when I made a trek to Columbia, Mo., for a reunion with former actors and directors. At the time I was in school, I spent far more time with my theatre friends than my fellow journalism students. The theatre group was my family then.

On the one hand, we picked up old relationships right where we left off. The connections in theatre are formed from intense working relationships, spending 30 or 40 hours a week, bearing souls, pulling together as a team, doing your job so well and relying on everyone else to do the same. So that the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. When that happens, the experience is magical, bordering on transformative.

The time I spend in theatre provided that gestalt more profoundly than any other work endeavor I’ve attempted. Nothing in journalism even comes close.

Yet, the time together made me realize how far I’ve come, how far apart we’ve grown. Some still have ties to the business. Others have moved on to computers or insurance or publishing — professions that bare no resemblance to theatre.

Yet the connection remains. That moment was profound, but it is in the past. Coming home, I couldn’t wait to get my first bite of roasted chicken, which my husband had started preparing the minute we got in the car to make the two-hour trek home.

I walked in the door and exhaled. Theatre was a family, but one to tide me over until I found my own. I’ve found that and am so grateful.

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